Career Development

Types of Graphs and Charts

February 11, 2021

Using pictures, videos, charts or graphs can help a business presentation to be successful. Sometimes, textual data can get monotonous and boring, and adding visuals can also add clarity to data. This data can be organised using different types of graphs and charts. Proper use of figures or tables in your presentations can make them compelling and concise. Therefore, it is useful to know about the types of graphs or charts and where to utilise them. In this article, we explain the kinds of graphs and charts that are commonly used in business presentations.

What are the types of graphs?

The major categories of graphs used in statistics and mathematics to represent numerical data in two dimensions are:

  1. Statistical graphs: These graphs are used to represent statistical data in a visual format. Examples of statistical graphs include bar diagrams, pie charts, line graphs and histograms.
  2. Exponential graphs: These are the inverse of logarithmic graphs, and they are used in mathematics. Usually, they represent algebraic equations such as 'y = 3x.'
  3. Logarithmic graph: In a logarithmic graph, the numbers from the log table and their logarithms are plotted on X and Y axes respectively. This type of graph is the inverse of an exponential one.
  4. Trigonometric graphs: Trigonometric graphs represent functions of trigonometry, such as sin(x), cos(x) and tan(x).
  5. Cartesian graph: These graphs are used to plot points on the Cartesian coordinate system in algebra with X and Y axes.
  6. Pictograph: In pictographs, the categories are not entered in numbers. Their pictures are placed in the respective squares of a graph paper. By using several images, you can easily find the maximum and minimum value of that category. As an example, pictographs are used for visualising trees in the Mediterranean region, Equatorial region, cold regions, etc. The pictures of trees are entered in the squares of the respective area on the X-axis.

Types of charts

A chart is different from a graph. It can be represented in many forms and is not limited to two-dimensional axes. Charts are used in various branches of science, mathematics, economics, statistics and research to describe large data sets in a concise manner. The common types of charts are:

  • Bar chart
  • Pie chart
  • Histogram
  • Scattered plot chart
  • Dot plot chart
  • Spider chart or radar chart
  • Stock chart
  • Candlestick chart
  • Flow chart
  • Gantt chart
  • Waterfall chart
  • Hierarchy chart
  • Trellis chart
  • Area chart
  • Venn chart

Bar chart

Bar charts are used in economics, statistics and marketing to analyse big data. The X-axis represents the category, while the Y-axis represents value. The length of bars gives the idea of maximum and minimum value with respect to the category.

Pie chart

A pie chart is circular in shape with slices of different sizes. It is mostly used in marketing. It consists of the value of each variable as a slice of the circle, and various colours are used to separate the categories. From the area of a slice, the minimum and maximum values are recognised. Pie charts are more effective when used in 3D form.

Histogram

Histograms are used in statistics, business and economics where numerical data plays a crucial role. A typical histogram looks like a bar chart. However, a bar chart provides comparisons of fixed values of a category, while in a histogram, each bar represents a range of value such as age in the range of 25-40. Histograms are generally used to summarise big data.

Scattered plot chart

A scattered plot chart is used to know the behaviour of dependent data in response to the behaviour of independent data. The potential relationship between the two variables are plotted, and the problem is then solved. Scattered plot charts are used for the comparison of two or more data at a time.

Dot plot chart

In a dot plot chart, the values for different variables are represented as coloured dots instead of bars or lines. The different colours are useful in dealing with clustered data, quantitative data and continuous sets of values. These charts have certain limitations when plotting big data sets. In such cases, a histogram is generally preferred.

Spider chart or radar chart

These are also known as web charts, star plots, polar charts and cobweb charts. A spider chart is a new concept used in sports analysis, intelligent data and statistics. It consists of more than one graph, which looks like a cobweb or a spoke of a wheel. A spider chart gives an idea of the performance of each category in a particular period.

Stock chart

Stock charts are used in the share market, where the trading price of a particular stock is presented over a specific period. Such charts are updated daily to show any positive or negative changes in all stocks. They are used extensively to perform positional analysis and prediction in the share market. You can select different stocks and change the period depending on your preferences of short-term, mid-term or long-term investment goals.

Candlestick chart

This chart is also used in share trading. A candlestick chart is similar to a bar chart, but the graphical representation looks like a candle with wicks on both ends. This chart is designed to provide information on stocks such as opening price, closing price, high points, low points and the time frame. The bars are coloured green and red to indicate whether the closing price of a stock is higher or lower than the opening price, respectively.

Flow chart

A flow chart is the graphical representation of a process from the start to its end. This chart is useful in creating the layout of a process and figuring out any problems in the logic. Usually, there is a starting point and an endpoint. However, the method may include more than one position in the beginning or at the end, depending on the complexity of the process and the logical development. These charts have different shapes to indicate all the actions and decision points. This method is useful to streamline the flow of work from the information on the chart and take appropriate measures as necessary.

Gantt chart

Gantt charts are used in project management. The progress of each project in each stage is represented by a bar, and the start dates and end dates are associated with the length of that bar. Some applications present additional information, such as task owners, dependencies, number of hours and any annotations or detailed descriptions of the task. Project managers use such charts to create schedules and plans for multiple projects.

Waterfall chart

A waterfall chart is specifically used in accounting. It only shows positive and negative values based on sequentially entered data. The chart provides a qualitative analysis of the impact of an entry or balance on the rest of the accounts. It gives a clear picture of financial position, profit, loss and income. The change due to a value in a statement is shown in different colours to highlight them. The chart is helpful in calculating budgets and expenditures by considering the differences in values over time.

Hierarchy chart

In an institution, this chart is essential and widely used. The order of control is plotted in this chart in an ascending manner. For example, the apex position in a company can be the general manager, CEO, COO, CFO, CXO and so on. The posts below these might be regional managers, area managers and assistant managers followed by other human resources. Such charts are often used in a company's brochure and annual accounts.

Trellis chart

Trellis charts are also called a lattice chart or panel chart. In this chart type, more than two variables can be compared at a time. For example, the different types of expenditures in a company can be plotted as graphs. In a trellis chart, these graphs are placed near each other on a single page for easy comparison.

Area chart

An area chart is similar to a linear chart. However, the area under the line up to the X-axis is coloured. It does not provide actual numbers. Instead, it shows the trends in particular data for a specific period. An area chart allows for comparison between small categories and shows the quantity of change. It is also used in a CV to show progress in solid form during previous employment periods.

Related: Curriculum Vitae (CV) Format Guide (with Examples and Tips)

Venn chart

A Venn diagram is used in mathematics, science and engineering. It is based on the set theory of segregating and comparing data. Venn diagrams are generally used to illustrate the logical relationship between two or more variables, represented by intersecting circles. The common qualities of two variables are in the intersecting parts of the circles, while differing qualities are outside.

Related

View More 

7 Basic Tips for Calling in Sick (And What To Avoid)

Examine some useful tips for calling in sick to work, why and when you should call and what to avoid saying when you are on call indicating your unavailability.

What Is Quality Assurance? (Plus QA Job Descriptions)

Learn what is quality assurance, how it stands out from quality control, skills needed to be a QA professional and also some job opportunities in the QA stream.