What Is a Bar Chart?
A bar chart is a type of graph used to represent and compare numbers, frequency, and measures different discrete categories of data. They are one of the most common forms of a graph as they are easy to create and can be understood instantly. They are also quite versatile—they come in different formats, including horizontal, vertical, component, grouped, and stacked bar charts.
Bar charts are created such that the lengths of bars are proportional to a given category’s size. The x-axis is used to represent categories of the given dataset and doesn’t contain any scale. To indicate that that the categories are discrete, bars are separated by a visible gap on the x-axis. On the other hand, the y-axis has a scale and represents the unit of measurement.
Why Use Bar Charts?
Bar charts are used to display data that is classified into ordinal or nominal categories. Nominal data is grouped based on qualitative or description information, such as a city. Ordinal data is distinguished through categories that can be ranked. For instance, a survey can be done to ask people if they rate a product “bad”, “average’, “good”, or “excellent”.
In nominal data, categories are arranged sequentially from the largest to the smallest one. In this way, users find it easy to make sense of data. But, you can’t do the same for ordinal data as the categories come with an obvious sequence. You can also use bar charts to show categories that have negative values as it allows you to place the bars below the x-axis.
Types of Bar Charts
Bar charts are divided into the following categories.
Horizontal Bar Chart
Generally, bars are positioned vertically in bar charts. The taller bar is used to represent the larger category. However, you can also draw these bars horizontally, where the longer bar is used to represent the larger category. It is an effective method for presenting data when you have categories with longer titles that would be hard to show in a vertical bar. Similarly, horizontal charts are also ideal when dealing with multiple different categories at once and there’s not enough room to show all the columns in a vertical bar chart.
Grouped Bar Charts
Grouped bar charts represent information belonging to different sub-groups of the primary categories. A separate bar shows each of the sub-groups and is shaded and colored differently to differentiate them. In some cases, a key or legend is added to show colors/shadings for each sub-group. It is added below the chart or maybe in the plot area.
Grouped bar charts can also be employed to represent multiple sub-groups of each category. However, it is important to make sure that the chart doesn’t store too much information, or it will become too complex when it comes to reading and interpretation. You can draw grouped bar chart as both vertical and horizontal bar charts, based on your data’s nature.
How to Create a Bar Chart?
Now that you know what a bar chart is and when to use it, you need to learn how to create it. Several tools can help you create a bar chart, but they take a lot of time and adjustments. Fortunately, there’s a tool, Image-Charts that has automated it. It has made making bar charts quite easy, thanks to a flexible and powerful editor.
All you need to know is to understand the following two fields:
- cht – Specify the chart type. The editor provides a dropdown menu to choose your preferred chart type.
- chd – Send data in multiple formats, including basic text format, awesome data format, simple encoding format etc.
If you want to create charts that are grouped vertically, open the editor, and manipulate the following values for the cht and chd parameters.
cht = bvg
chd = t:7,7,7|14,14,14|21,21,21
As you can note, other values are already pre-defined. All you need is to specify your chart type and place values accordingly.
Similarly, you can generate charts that are grouped vertically by editing the following values.
cht = bhg
chd = t:8,8,8|16,16,16|24,24,24
Next, you can generate charts that are stacked vertically.
cht = bvs
chd = t:9,9,9|18,18,18|27,27,27
You can also generate charts that are stacked by changing the following values:
cht = bhs
chd = t:10,10,10|20,20,20|30,30,30
How to Color Your Charts?
Image-Charts doesn’t only allow you to create charts but also helps you to style it so they can look professional. You can specify the colors of individual bars, individual series, and multiple series through the chco parameter. You can choose colors from this link. Open the editor and manipulate the following fields.
cht = bvs
chco = DFFCF8,27D9D2
You can modify one color for each value with pipe-delimited colors.
In order to combine series colors and individual bar colors, you can try the following.
Bar charts are quite useful for data visualization. They can help you to explain data in a convenient and effective manner. If you work with data, consider using Image-Charts to improve the efficiency of your daily tasks and activities.