Examine the dashboard below; can you identify the number of data visualization chart types present?

chart types
From FineReport

In the era of information explosion, more and more data piles up. However, these dense data are unfocused and less readable. So we need data visualization to help data to be easily understood and accepted. By contrast, visualization is more intuitive and meaningful, and it is very important to use appropriate charts to visualize data.

In this post, I will introduce the top 16 types of data visualization charts, and analyze their application scenarios to help you quickly select the type of chart that shows the characteristics of your data.

NOTE: All the charts in the article are taken from the data visualization tool FineReport, and the personal download is completely free.

free visualization software

1. Column Chart

Column charts use vertical columns to show numerical comparisons between categories, and the number of columns should not be too large (the labels of the axis may appear incomplete if there are too many columns).

column chart

 

From FineReport

The column chart takes advantage of the height of the column to reflect the difference in the data, and the human eye is sensitive to height differences. The limitation is that it is only suitable for small and medium-sized data sets.

column chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: comparison of classified data

2. Bar Chart

Bar charts are similar to column charts, but the number of bars can be relatively large. Compared with the column chart, the positions of its two axes are changed.

bar chart

 

From FineReport

bar chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: comparison of data (the category name can be longer because there is more space on the Y axis)

3. Line Chart

A line chart is used to show the change of data over a continuous time interval or period. It is characterized by a tendency to reflect things as they change over time or ordered categories.

It should be noted that the number of data records of the line graph should be greater than 2, which can be used for trend comparison of large data volumes. And it is better not to exceed 5 polylines on the same graph.

line chart

 

From FineReport

line chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: trend of data volume over time, comparison of series trends

4. Area Chart

The area chart is formed based on the line chart. It fills the area between the polyline and the axis in the line chart with colour. The filling of the colour can better highlight the trend information.

The fill colour of the area chart should have a certain transparency. The transparency can help the user to observe the overlapping relationship between different series. The area without transparency will cause the different series to cover each other.

area chart

 

From FineReport

area chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: series ratio, time trend ratio

5. Pie Chart

Pie charts are widely used in various fields to represent the proportion of different classifications, and to compare various classifications by the arc.

The pie chart is not suitable for multiple series of data, because as the series increases, each slice becomes smaller, and finally the size distinction is not obvious.

pie chart

 

From FineReport

A pie chart can also be made into a multi-layer pie chart, showing the proportion of different categorical data, while also reflecting the hierarchical relationship.

bar chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: series ratio, series size comparison (rose diagram)

6. Scatter Plot

The scatter plot shows two variables in the form of points on a rectangular coordinate system. The position of the point is determined by the value of the variable. By observing the distribution of the data points, we can infer the correlation between the variables.

Making a scatter plot requires a lot of data, otherwise the correlation is not obvious.

scatter plot

 

From FineReport

scatter plot

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: correlation analysis, data distribution

7. Bubble Chart

A bubble chart is a multivariate chart that is a variant of a scatter plot. Except for the values of the variables represented by the X and Y axes, the area of each bubble represents the third value.

We should note that the size of the bubble is limited, and too many bubbles will make the chart difficult to read.

bubble chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: comparison of classified data, correlation analysis

8. Gauge

A gauge in data visualization is a kind of materialized chart. The scale represents the metric, the pointer represents the dimension, and the pointer angle represents the value. It can visually represent the progress or actual situation of an indicator.

The gauge is suitable for comparison between intervals.

gauge

 

From FineReport

It can also be made into a ring or a tube type, indicating the ratio.

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: clock, ratio display

visualization software

9. Radar Chart

Radar charts compare multiple quantized variables, such as seeing which variables have similar values, or if there are extreme values. They also help to observe which variables in the data set have higher or lower values. Radar charts are suitable for demonstrating job performance.

radar chart

 

From FineReport

The radar chart also has a stacked column style that can be used for two-way comparison between classification and series while representing the proportion.

radar chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: dimension analysis, series comparison, series weight analysis

10. Frame Diagram

The frame diagram is a visual means of presenting the hierarchy as a tree structure, which clearly shows the hierarchical relationship.

frame diagram

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: hierarchy display, process display

11. Rectangular Tree Diagram

The rectangular tree diagram is suitable for presenting data with hierarchical relationships, which can visually reflect the comparison between the same levels. Compared with the traditional tree structure diagram, the rectangular tree diagram makes more efficient use of space and has the function of showing the proportion.

Rectangular tree diagrams are suitable for showing the hierarchy with weight relationships. If it is not necessary to reflect the proportion, the frame diagram may be clearer.

Rectangular Tree Diagram

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: weighted tree data, proportion of tree data

12. Funnel Chart

The funnel chart shows each stage’s proportion and visually reflects each module’s size. It’s suitable for comparing rankings.

Funnel Chart

 

From FineReport

At the same time, the funnel chart can also be used for comparison. We arrange multiple funnel charts horizontally and the data contrast is also very clear.

Funnel Chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: data ranking, ratio, standard value comparison

13. Word Cloud Chart

The word cloud is a visual representation of text data. It is a cloud-like colour graphic composed of vocabulary. It is used to display a large amount of text data and can quickly help users perceive the most prominent text.

The word cloud chart requires a large amount of data, and the degree of discrimination of the data is relatively large, otherwise, the effect is not obvious. And it is not suitable for accurate analysis.

Word Cloud Chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: keyword search

14. Gantt Chart

The Gantt chart visually shows the timing of the mission, the actual progress and the comparison with the requirements. So managers can easily understand the progress of a task (project).

Gantt Chart

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: project progress, state changes over time, project process

15. Map

The map is divided into three types: regional map, point map, and flow map.

(1) Regional Map

A regional map is a map that uses colour to represent the distribution of a certain range of values on a map partition.

Regional Map

 


From FineReport

Application Scenariocomparison and distribution of data

(2) Point Map

A point map is a method of representing the geographical distribution of data by plotting points of the same size on a geographical background.

The distribution of points makes it easy to grasp the overall distribution of data, but it is not suitable when you need to observe a single specific data.

Point Map

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: distribution of data

But if you replace the point with the bubble, then the point map can not only show the distribution but also roughly compare the size of the data in each region.

Point Map

 


From FineReport

(3) Flow Map

The flow map displays the interaction data between the outflow area and the inflow area. It is usually expressed by the line connecting the geometric centres of gravity of the spatial elements. The width or colour of the line indicates the flow value.

Flow maps help to illustrate the distribution of geographic migration, and the use of dynamic flow lines reduces visual clutter.

 Flow Map

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: flow, distribution and comparison of data

16. Heatmap

The heatmap is used to indicate the weight of each point in the geographic area. In addition to the map as the background layer, you can also use other images. Colour in a heatmap usually refers to density.

Heatmap

 

From FineReport

Application Scenario: regional visits, heat distribution, distribution of various things

Concluding Insights on Data Visualization Charts

All of the above are the 16 frequently used types of data visualization charts. If you want to get started with data visualization, I suggest you start by learning to make these basic charts and practice with an easy-to-use tool like FineReport.

free visualization software

While some may perceive basic charts as overly simplistic and primitive, opting for more intricate alternatives, it’s crucial to recognize that simplicity enhances the swift comprehension of data. After all, the primary goal of data visualization is to facilitate a clear understanding. Therefore, it’s essential not to underestimate the effectiveness of these fundamental charts. Given their familiarity with users, they should be prioritized whenever applicable.

Follow FineReport Reporting Software on Facebook to learn more about data visualization!

Keen to explore the full potential of Data Visualization? Dive in with our comprehensive guide:

The Ultimate Guide to Data Visualization in Various Industries

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