When there is a paramount of information that you need to remember or convey, encapsulating or consolidating the data will surely help you achieve your goals. One way to do this is by using illustrations that will show the data you need to share.
Since it is known that people learn or understand more when an image is used, a chart is one of the commonly used illustration when showing data or information; this is because a chart can present an actual representation of the data you are to share. Visualizing your data with the use of charts can really help you effectively present and explain your acquired data.
In order for a chart to be effective, you need to include all its necessary elements. You need to ensure you chart covers all the necessary angles so that you can answer all the questions your audience may have. In this sense, here is a list of the essential elements a chart should have:
1. Category (X) Axis: In order for your chart to be understandable, you need to provide an explanation what each data series (bars in the column chart) represents. The horizontal or X-axis of the grid on your charts serves for this purpose. The line, scale, font, and alignment attributes to this axis can be changed.
2. Chart Area: The entire area the chart covers is called the chart area. It is basically the background of the chart. Usually, the chart area is white, but it can be changed to fit your purpose or your preference. You can also add a border and you can use a different font.
3. Chart Title: As the name implies, this it the title or heading of your chart. This is found at the top of the chart. The chart title helps in identifying the purpose of the chart, and it conveys what data in the chart relates to.
4. Data Marker: The objects in your chart such as a circle, dot, square, or percentage are called data markers. These objects denote a data point. These are the identifiers that you usually see on the chart presenting the data in a more visual way. This is usually found on top or at the end point of each plotted point. You may also see weekly charts.
5. Data Series: This element is what you see indicating or pointing the data in your chart; this pertains to the bars, columns, pie slices, etc. Each data is represented by various colors and is identified in the legend on the chart. How this element is used or plotted in can be changed to fir your preference.
6. Gridlines: The vertical and horizontal lines that appear in a chart are called gridlines. The gridlines are on the plot area; this helps indicate where each end of the data points to. Depending on what you prefer, different color, weight, and even scale can be used.
7. Legend: In order to understand what each data series in the chart represent, a legend is included below the chart area. This shows what each different color in char that is plotted in the chart represents. How you input the legend in your chart depends on your preference, but make sure it is visible and understandable. You may also see behaviour chart examples.
8. Plot Area: The plot area is the where the date series are plotted or graphed. This is basically where all the data is consolidated. It is the area that appears directly behind the data series; as the name implies, this is the area where the contents of the graph is plotted. The color as well as pattern can be changed to fit the purpose of your chart.
9. Value (Y) Axis: The vertical axis of the chart is called the value or y axis. This axis represents the values of the data series plotted in the plot area of the chart. The value used in this axis depends on what you are using the chart for, i.e. number of years, currency, etc. Depending on preference and solution, the pattern of the line, format of the tick marks, tick mark labels, scale, font, number format, and alignment of the axis labels can be changed.
Since it has been proven that people easily understand and process information when images are used, a chart is a useful tool when you want to present your data in a more understandable visual. It helps you present your data in a more comprehensive manner. This is most useful when the information you present to your audience consists of more number than words. Thus, learning to make a chart is necessary when you want to achieve the goal of spreading awareness and credible information. Below is an easy guide you can follow when making a chart:
1. Determine the purpose of the chart: Before your make chart, you should have a clear understanding as to what it is for. Determining the purpose of your chart will help guide your focus in gathering the data that you need. This will also help you stay on track when you start computing for the values that should be on your chart.
2. Gather the data: The data for your chart depends on what it is about and what its purpose is. Gathering the data means you need to do research, conduct relevant surveys, and so on. If you want to present pertinent data about your company it can be easily found on specific offices that holds such record.
3. Write the categories and values: After gathering your data you can start making your chart. You need to draw the x and y axis of your chart. As mentioned earlier, the y axis or the vertical line of the chart represents the value to be plotted. Make sure that the categories and values you write on the chart are accurate for a better and credible presentation.
4. Indicate the legend: In order for your audience to understand your chart easily, you need to include a legend. The legend will indicate what each color in the chart represents. You can put your legend on any part of the chart; it is important to make it easily visible. Make sure your legend explains what each color or variable in the chart represents. You may also see flow chart examples.
5. Plot the data on the chart: After making sure you have drawn out your chart and have written the figures accurately, you can begin plotting your data. It is important to accurately plot the data; otherwise, it will not be a credible source of information. You can use gridlines to ensure you are plotting on the correct line and value.
6. Proofread and edit: After you draw your chart, write indicators, plot the data, etc., you need to make sure you have written down accurate data. Proofread your work to make sure there are no mistakes and errors, after that just edit your chart accordingly.
Here are some additional tips in making a chart:
A chart can be used to present data for various setting and reason. It has a wide variety of types that you can choose from to ensure that it caters to your purpose and data. To help you understand which type of chart is more suitable to use for a specific purpose, here is a list explaining the types of charts:
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about charts:
A chart is defined as a graphical representation of data where data is represented by symbols, such as bars in a bar chart, lines in a line chart, or slices in a pie chart.
A chart is used to present data in a visual/graphical manner. It helps in making it easier for the audience to understand numerical parts of a whole, relationship of one part to another or a whole, and so on.