Bar and column charts

Bar charts are widely used charts that let users compare discrete values associated to different categories or show how a value is distributed. Bar charts can either rely on vertical or horizontal bars.

Recommended for

Comparison
Distribution
  • Compare values of different categories (Bar plots)
  • Show how a given value is distributed (Histogram)
  • Show how parts of a whole compare to each other (Stacked)

Do / Don't

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In case of a comparison, order the bars in an ascending or descending order to provide more meaning to your charts.

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Bear in mind that charts are not decorative. Don’t use multiple colors to show the same metric.

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Use square bars for easy reading and accurate measurement.

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Don’t use round edges on bar charts. It may decrease readability and lead to accuracy errors.

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Mind the length of labels to optimize readability: use horizontal bar plots when labels are quite long.

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Try to put enough spacing between labels or use standard abbreviations for labels to facilitate reading.