# Column Charts

## essentials for a column chart

### X Axis

Represents the category. In the above example, Department is the category. We can also call this a dimension. In other words, it is typically a text variable and not numeric.

• A special case is a date field/dimension. We can represent dates (months, weeks, years) in the X axis.

### Y Axis

Represents the scale of our measure value. In the above example, Count of employees is the measure.

• In advanced versions of column chart, we can have 2 Y-axes, one on the left and one on the right.

### Column Height

The value for each category determines the height of that corresponding column.

• The height of the Sales department column is taller than the Marketing department column.
• Also, the Sales department column is twice as tall as Finance department column (since Sales’ value is 28 which is twice as Finance’s value of 14)

### Why is a Column Chart Effective ?

###### let's do a simple experiment

Take this simple table where we have a category column (Department) and a Measure column (count of Employees).

If you could only glance at this table for 1 or 2 seconds, can you quickly determine the department with most employees or least employees.

Do not worry if you didn’t. For most people, it is not easy.

## Now, let’s try the same experiment, this time viewing data using a chart.

Column charts utilize the pre-attentive attribute – object height, allowing quick interpretation of data such as employee counts by department.For instance, Sales, with the tallest column, is immediately noticeable as having the most employees. Learn more about how visual analytics enhance data processing in Why Visual Analytics? – Tableau

## Simple Comparison

Compare values (metrics or measures) across different categories.

## Deviation

Illustrate deviation/variations of actuals from targets.

## Highlights

Highlight with color, only specific column(s) to paint a picture of your data.

## Trends

Show trends or changes over time.

## Distribution

Visualize the range of data across two related categories.

## Composition

Illustrate the composition of a whole, comparing relative proportions across categories.

## tailor it for your need

The choice of chart formatting should depend on the audience, aimed at clearly communicating data findings. In business, charts facilitate recommendations, helping decision-makers choose appropriate actions based on the visualized data. The key is to tailor the presentation effectively.

## Avoid Clutter

Too much information can be overwhelming! Keep the chart simple. Too many columns or categories can make the chart difficult to read.

## Label Clearly

Ensure that all axes are clearly labeled. Include a descriptive title and a legend if the chart includes multiple data sets.

## Consistent Colors

Use colors consistently to avoid confusion

## Choose the right type of chart

Choosing the right type of chart goes a long way in ensuring there is no misleading of conclusions. Column charts are best for specific scenarios outlined earlier. If there is a better chart type, choose that.

## Check for Accuracy

Ensure all data represented is accurate and up to date.

## Choose Appropriate Scales:

The y-axis scale should be set to reflect the range of your data accurately. Watch out for non-zero starts, as they can lead to incorrect conclusions.

## Cater to the audience’ needs

Ensure the audience does not have to work very hard to understand the message. If data labels are important for the audience, include it. If gridlines are important, include it.

## Keep it simple

If there is a simpler way to communicate the same message, choose that method.

## a closer look at the diverse range of column charts

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the diverse range of column charts featured in our blog posts. Each chart is a visual masterpiece, crafted to convey insights and enhance your data-driven decision-making process.

## Discover the power of visualization

Discover the power of visualization with our Instant Chart Maker – your simple and effective solution for seamless chart creation. Instantly transform your data into stunning visuals with just a few clicks!

## Access a treasure trove of free resources

### The Illustrative Column Chart Guide

Quick 1-page instructions for chart creation.

Engage with step-by-step tutorials for hands-on learning.

### Step-by-step Tutorials

Explore our in-depth articles aimed at acting as your step-by-step instructor for chart making. Search our list of articles below.

ChartCategory
Column chart with multiple seriesComparison
Column chart with single targetBenchmark
Column chart with single target and highlightHighlight
Column chart with multiple targetsBenchmark
Column within a columnBenchmark
Vertical container filler chartBenchmark
Column chart for variances with different colorsDeviation
Vertical lollipop chartComparison
Vertical matchstick chartComparison
Column chart with actual, target and variancesDeviation
Stacked column chart with totalComposition
100% stacked column chart with totalComposition
Column chart with multiple series and small multipleComposition
Column chart with line for time series dataTrends
Column chart with line for time series and highlightHighlight
Floating column chartDistribution
Vertical dumbbell chart (Flat)Distribution
Vertical dumbbell chart (Round)Distribution
Variance arrows with actual and target columnsDeviation
Variance arrows with actual columns and vertical target lineDeviation
Vertical bullet chartBenchmark
Column chart comparing three measuresBenchmark
Vertical slider chartBenchmark
Slider with context using stacked columnsBenchmark
Progress tracker using stacked column ChartBenchmark
Vertical slider chart with actual filled columnsBenchmark
Simple stacked column chartComposition
Simple 100% stacked column chartComposition
Simple column chart by categoryComparison
Simple column chart by dateTrends
Column Chart with multiple targets and highlightHighlight
Waterfall ChartComposition
Simple Bar ChartComparison
Bar Chart with Multiple SeriesComparison
Stacked Bar chartComposition
100% stacked bar chartComposition
Stacked Bar chart with totalComposition
100% stacked bar chart with TotalComposition
Bar within a bar chartBenchmark
Simple line ChartTrends
Line chart with multiple seriesTrends
Arrow chart (vertical)Deviation
Box and WhiskerDistribution
Scatter plotRelationship
Bubble chart with multiple seriesRelationship