# Types of Graphs and Charts And Their Uses

Written By

Mark

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Graphs & Charts have various applications in different domains of Science, Statistics, Data Analysis, economics, mathematics, and business for Data representation & Visualization.

Every type of graph is a visual representation of data on diagram plots (ex. bar, pie, line chart) that show different types of graph trends and relationships between variables.

It’s challenging to explain all graphs & charts, but we have gathered some commonly used ones with multiple applications.

This article lists the 17 most popular Types of Graphs and Charts with their uses and examples.

## 1. Line Graphs

Line Graphs ( also known as Line Charts ) represent trends or relations in data that vary with the plotted period continuously. Generally, we plot time on the horizontal axis & variable data value on the vertical axis. Line graphs are a flexible tool for data visualization.

Uses of line graphs

• To analyze and track trends and changes in the plotted data with time.
• You can compare many datasets by plotting on the same graph to discover relations between them.
• Line graphs can uncover patterns in data.
• To identify anomalies.
• To predict or forecast future trends via extrapolating the lines.

Examples

• You can use a line graph to show how an organization’s revenue has increased or decreased over a decade.
• To view a company’s annual sales for ten consecutive years.

## 2. Bar Charts

Bar Charts (or Bar Graphs ) display different vertical/horizontal bars of changing lengths for Data Visualization. The height/length of bars represents the plotted value. Bar Charts are of two types – Vertical & Horizontal.

Uses of Bar Charts

• For comparison of data of different groups & categories.
• To display changing trends with time.
• To represent percentages, rankings & proportions.
• To make comparisons in the subgroups.

Examples

• Draw a bar chart to represent the Top five best-selling cars of a specific year.
• Drawing a bar chart to display the numbers of female & male employees in different organizational domains.

## 3. Pie Charts

Pie Charts display data as divided slices while presenting different dataset categories. Every slice illustrates a category, and its size shows the proportions of that category in the dataset.

Uses of Pie Charts

• To compare the proportions of diverse categories for any company’s data.
• To show/display percentages of a category in the given data.
• To represent the composition of different categories as a whole.
• Visualize relationships among many categories ( 3 to more ) of a dataset.

Examples

• The proportion of various crimes in a country.
• Revenue generated by various products of a marketing company.

## 4. Histogram

Histograms are primarily utilized for Data visualization in Statistics and Data Science. Unlike Bar graphs, histograms consist of rectangles we draw close to each other without space. The rectangle’s height represents the frequency of the data values.

Uses of Histogram

• Data analysts commonly use histograms to visualize numerical data distribution graphically.
• To find trends & patterns in the data in Statistical analysis.
• Engineers use Histograms in manufacturing settings to track quality control and discover machine problems.
• Finance experts use Histograms to represent the distribution of financial data or stock prices to make investment strategies.
• Marketers use them in customer analytics to find out customer behavior like purchase amounts distribution.

Examples

• To make histograms of per capita waste generation of 6 metropolitan cities.
• In quality control processes like weight distribution, with time to discover issues in a specific manufacturing process.

## 5. Scatter plot

A scatter plot is a chart type to display the relationship between two bivariate data, i.e., data containing two variables ( dependent & independent ). The motive is to explore how much one variable impacts the other.

Uses of Scatter Plot

• To analyze relationships between variables of large datasets in different domains like biology, finance, statistics, Data Science & Data Analyst.
• To make intelligent investment decisions, to represent relationships of two finance variables like stock volume or price.
• In Social Sciences, to explore trends & patterns between two variables of economic datasets.

Examples

• In Environmental Science, you can use Scatter plots to analyze relationships between fish count & temperature to make strategies to save aquatic ecosystems.
• In Engineering, experts use Scatter Plots to find relationships between the weight of diverse materials & strength to find which material suits the best.

## 6. Venn Chart

Venn charts ( or Venn diagrams ) are used to analyze logical relationships of overlapping circles representing different data. The overlapping portion represents the value that belongs to one or more sets. Teachers use the Venn chart in education to teach logical reasoning & set theory.

Uses of Venn Chart

• Venn Chart usage is common in Mathematics to study and display different concepts like set theory.
•  In statistics, for comparison of different groups data.
• In marketing, for comparison of buying behavior of diverse customer groups.
• In educational institutes, to teach critical thinking & logical reasoning.

Examples

• To study the common and different characteristics of women & men.
• To find common & different characteristics of birds, fishes, mammals, or reptiles.

## 7. Area Charts

Area Charts display data in a sequence of points connected via a line containing the shaded area between the horizontal axis & line. The shaded area represents the data series extent. The horizontal & vertical axis represents the time and dependent variable, respectively. The shaded portion simplifies the task of finding relationships and patterns between datasets.

Uses of Area Charts

• Area Charts are used in Finance sectors to recognize patterns between financial data to predict future trends.
• In Economics, observe significant shifts in economic data to predict future conditions of employment rates, inflation, etc.
• In Environmental Science, to observe changes in environmental data such as water or air quality with measured time. This is done to make strategies to address environmental problems.
• In Marketing, to observe customer behavior changes with time to make marketing strategies influenced by consumer priorities.

Examples

• Business sectors use Area charts to observe revenue changes over a specified time.
• To measure the change in carbon dioxide volume in the air over a decade.

## 8. Spline Chart

Spline Chart is somewhat similar to a line chart, but it uses a spline, a mathematical function for interpolation between different data points. The resulting diagram consists of a smooth curve passing through all data points for a visually appealing look. We represent all data points as a dot rather than a line.

Uses of Spline Chart

• Traders use Spline charts in finance to observe changes, patterns, and trends in stock prices to make strategic decisions on the next moves of investment in stocks.
• In Economics, to monitor shifts in economic data such as GDP, inflation, etc., with time.
• In Marketing, to recognize patterns in consumer behaviors to develop marketing strategies targeting consumer needs.
• In Engineering, for modeling & studying the behavior of complex systems such as electrical circuits to discover their behavior in different conditions.

Examples

• Investors use Spline Charts to study stock price changes for six years or more.
•  To study GDP changes of Russia over the time of five years.

## 9. Box and Whisker Chart

The box and whisker Chart ( or Box plot ) represents statistical data showing the distribution of different values. The chart consists of a “box” spanning an interquartile range and a vertical link drawn from boxes end to the maximum & minimum values of the data.

Uses of Box and Whisker Chart

• You can use a Box and Whisker chart to represent outliers, quartiles & medians of different groups to find improvement areas.
• For comparison of the performance of investment portfolios to discover which ones are performing as per expectations.
• In the manufacturing sector, to monitor product qualities with time.

Examples

• Calculate students’ test scores in classes to find median, outliers & quartiles.
• Represent income levels of diverse demographic groups.

## 10. Bubble Chart

A bubble Chart involves data representation in three dimensions to study and compare relationships. X and Y-axis representations are similar to Scatter plots. The significant difference lies in adding a third dimension represented by a bubble. This bubble size represents the third variable value.

The main motive for using Bubble Chart is to observe relationships between three or more variables.

Uses of Bubble Chart

• Scientists use them in research processes to display different data ( including three or four dimensions ) related to the environment, species diversity, and more.
• In finance, to represent financial data to study different company performances.
• In project management, to visualize the project’s progress, including complexity level & completion time.
• In social media management, to visualize engagement rates, hashtags performance, popularity, or growth rates.

Examples

• To study relationships between an organization’s three crucial variables – revenue, market share & profits over a 5-year.
• To study sales of three different products. Each bubble’s size represents the product’s revenue, and its color represents its respective market share.

## 11. Pictographs

Pictographs are simply graphical representations via icons or symbols that represent data values. Pictograms display data in a visually appealing & easy to understand way, making them popular among all age groups.

They contain two components – a key to explain the symbol’s meaning & the symbol itself that represents values. They can be in different shapes, like objects, animals, or fruits.

Uses of Pictographs

• For education purposes, in classes of younger students, to teach mathematical concepts like fractions, counting, addition, percentages, etc.
• In advertisements campaigns, to display information about a service in an engaging & appealing way.
• In transportation systems, to display information about train schedules, routes, and services.
• In healthcare places, display information on medical procedures, treatments, and conditions to educate patients & visitors.

Examples

• An organic company uses pictograms of vegetables to educate people about the significance of healthy eating.
• Delhi train station utilizes train pictograms to assist passengers in finding their routes.

## 12. Dot Plot

A Dot plot is an easily readable chart that uses dots as data points for values distribution & compares different categories. Each dot represents a specific data point along the vertical/horizontal axis.

Uses of Dot Plot

• Dot plots are effective when you want to differentiate between groups or categories using data distribution via dots of different colors.
• In education institutes, teachers create dot plots showing test scores distribution for a class.
• Experts in marketing use dot plots to represent the distribution of customer ratings on a specific product.
• In sports, to create distribution dot plots for goals/points scored by a school team for a season.

Examples

• Test scores distribution of different students of a class. Each dot represents a student’s score on a horizontal axis, while the dot’s number represents students’ numbers who received that score.

## 13. Radar Chart

A Radar Chart ( start chart or spider chart ) displays data on a circular grid having multiple axes rising from the center. The axes look similar to a radar’s antenna spokes. We plot data points along each axis & line connecting to make a polygon shape.

Uses of Radar chart

• The sole motive for using a radar chart is to display data patterns across many variables. It’s effective to compare diverse groups/categories dependent on many dimensions.
• It’s used in sports for performance comparison of a team across different categories like points, steals, etc.
• Marketers use a Radar chart to compare the pros & cons of different brands across attributes like quality and customer satisfaction.
• In education, you can use a radar chart to compare a school’s academic performance across different subjects.

Examples

• Comparison of three smartphones based on various features like camera quality, battery life & video quality.
• Comparison of marketing metrics performance such as open rates, website engagement, traffic, etc.

## 14. Pyramid Graph

A Pyramid graph represents data in a pyramid shape. We divide this chart into different horizontal sections representing a diverse category/group. Each section size represents a group size arranged in a pyramid of decreasing order.

Uses of Pyramid Graph

• People use a pyramid graph to represent the relative sizes/proportions of different groups of a varying size population.
• They are widely used in demographic studies to represent the distribution of a customer base across diverse age groups and more categories.

Examples

• Age distribution of a Delhi city population. The youngest people are represented at the bottom end, while elders are at the top.
• Sales distribution of Apple company products. The most popular reside at the top, while the least popular at the end.

## Conclusion

Selecting a specific graph or chart might seem challenging initially. You can pick one after analyzing your data type and the process you want to implement for the data. By understanding graphs and charts’ uses and examples, applying them for studying relations and driving valuable insights from your collected data will be easy.

## Resources

Mark Roberts is a freelance writer and tech enthusiast based in San Diego, specializing in internet security and Ai tools.