Let’s understand what is a compound bar graph before learning how to read and create and use it.
A compound bar chart is a form of bar graph that shows the proportionate contribution of individual data points to a total. Each bar’s height or length shows how much each group contributes to the overall.
For example, you can use a compound bar graph, such as the simple example below, to show how much of a company’s revenues come from each location.
You may also make a stacked area chart that compares the data points from each branch to the total data from all branches.
In short, a Compound Bar Graph is similar to a standard Bar Graph except that it can display part-to-whole comparisons.
Now, let’s discuss how you can read, create and use compound bar graphs for thorough comparison and analysis of data.
How to read a stacked bar graph?
To illustrate the total or average of each category, a stacked bar chart is utilised. The volume of those numerical values increases with the height of the bar.
Cross-reference each bar’s absolute length against the scale along an axis or a value label. Compare the different components of the stack using the grid lines. To obtain a feel of the significance of each component, compare all of the bars and stacks, searching for the big and the small, the unusual and the normal.
When do you use a stacked column chart?
A stacked column chart is an effective tool for determining a trend over time. Other applications for stacked bar graphs include:
- Business budgets (spending vs saving)
- Economy (supply and demand)
- Marketing (spending vs results)
A stacked bar chart can accurately display your data when comparing small elements with the entire data of any general category.
When should you not use Compound Bar Graphs?
There are a few instances where a compound bar graph is not required. Simple bar or column charts, a pie or line graph, or other sorts of charts would be preferable. Here are some examples.
Pie graphs and donut charts, such as this pie chart infographic, are excellent choices for creating simple budget charts.
This is due to the fact that pie charts are more effective at displaying relative or percentage comparisons. They do not display absolute values, as a compound bar chart may.
Analyzing stock market trends
Line charts and bar graphs are more effective than compound bar charts for understanding and showing trends.
Looking for trends in a data series
Scatter plot graphs are considerably easier to interpret than compound charts when it comes to trend data.
Steps to Create a Compound Bar Chart
Here are the basic steps for creating your own compound bar charts.
- Determine the segments you will compare: The type of data on the axes determines the data for a compound bar chart. The x-axis normally contains ordered values, whereas the y-axis has a list of items.
The type of data on the axes determines the data for a compound bar chart. Sometimes the data is so simple to compare that it just requires one axis.
- Select a bar chart template: Once you’ve decided on the ordered values and data type to utilise on the axes of your stacked bar chart, you can begin generating the first bar chart.
- Determine data clarity: Make sure your graph design has enough white space for users to completely understand the data. To indicate variances in data within the total amount, a stacked bar chart can employ contrasting colours.
Alternatively, utilise varied lengths to demonstrate the relative size of segments to one another. This will make the chart more understandable to readers.
- Obtain an outside perspective: Finally, have someone look over your stacked bar chart. For example, here’s a stacked bar chart comparison of writers.
It’s easy to have tunnel vision while making stacked column charts, so having a fresh pair of eyes that haven’t worked on it before is a great way to see new ideas and spot flaws.
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