What is a bar graph?
A bar chart is a common graphical display when you want to show quantitative values for a set of categories. The bars represent a set of numerical data points. The length of the bars is proportional to the numerical values associated with each category. The bars can be placed either vertically or horizontally. It is best practice to make the bars start at zero. Otherwise, you run the risk that your chart misleads people.
This type of chart is also known as a bar chart, bar plot, or column chart.
A brief history of the bar chart
The first known bar chart was part of Wiliam Playfair’s The Commercial and Political Atlas, from 1796. The author, a Scottish political economist and a pioneer in data visualization and graphic design, compared year-to-year data of different branches of trade.
How to make a bar chart with Vizzlo
- Enter your data either open the “Spreadsheet” in the menu bar and copy&paste your data into the corresponding fields or upload as XSLX or CSV file
- change the data of the default entries - just click on any bar and use the input elements in the sidebar
- Add additional bars by clicking the “plus” buttons on each side of a bar. Alternatively, click on “+ Add bar” in the menu bar
- Explore additional customization options the sidebar
- Click on Analysis to add a shade or a projection line
Bar graph pro tips
- Bar charts should generally include a zero baseline.
- If the labels to identify the bars take up too much horizontal space, swap the x and y-axis.
- Always sort your bars if the categorical variable has no natural order.
Bar graph: use case
- Almost anything!
- Sales volume of different brands
- Total number of people living in different cities
- The difference in life expectancy between countries or regions
Bar chart: key features
- Take advantage of our advanced Analysis functions to visualize growth, trends, projections and benchmarks
- Vertical and horizontal views
- Sorting bars ascending or descending
- Change bar colors
- Adjust bar width
- Customize axes lines and grid lines
- Adjustable minimum and maximum range for y-axis
- Analysis lines: growth rates (CAGR), reference lines, trend lines, and benchmarks
- Show values and change their number format
- Step-by-step tutorial
- Vizzlo’s Data Viz Guide includes:
Bar Chart: What's new?
NEW Add a level difference arrow to indicated changes from one position to another in basis points now.
NEW Most of our data visualisations now support SI prefixes, advanced number format options for axes and shown data labels.
We fixed a bug that did not show analysis lines when your bar chart already contained a growth rate.
There was a chance that a scale break was not properly displayed on the vertical axis. We fixed that issue.
Axis settings are getting more flexible: we have added the option to hide axis labels.
🎉 Scale breaks on the y-axis are now supported.
See our help center article on bar charts for all features, tips&tricks.
We made a slight change in the user interface to make it easier to change the number format of the data labels.
NEW We added Level difference arrows as a new analysis feature. Use it to highlight and compare values.
Drag and drop the arrow ends to calculate the sum, difference, growth rate, ratio, or add free text. Read more about level difference arrows in our Help center article on bar charts.
NEW feature: you can now slant the axis labels in the vertical mode of a bar chart!
NEW The bar chart comes with three options now to change the color mode.
You can now
- set one color for all bars
- color positive and negative values differently, or
- use the colors from your theme palette.
You can now hide vertical and horizontal axis lines.
We streamlined the UI for the bar chart and the stacked bar chart.
NEW You can adjust the width of the bars when you added a projection to your chart
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