Bar Chart

Bar charts are the transposition of a column chart, where X-Axis and Y-Axis are switched. As seen previously with the Column Chart, these two are complementary. One shows the data vertically while the other one horizontally. How to know which one is more adapted to what you would like to tell? Generally, bar charts are great when you have a large amount of points you would like to compare, as well as when your data labels/category names are long. It helps you not have them all cluttered and unreadable on a horizontal X Axis.



Bar charts are especially great for a comparative listing of your data, such as Top 5 or Bottom 5 rankings by using the limit and order functions in datapine. They are also very useful to display a larger number of data sets or data with long categorical labels as they allow for more space next to the category axis. Keep in mind to order them with a certain logic though (labels that make sense, or alphabetical order for instance).


bar chart example created with datapine

Follow these steps to create your horizontal bar chart


  1. In datapine, click on Analyze to open the Chart Creator. Choose the data source you would like to work with in the drop-down menu on the left, and drag and drop your data What to measure (Y Axis).
  2. Then, add a field to the Dimension (X Axis).
  3. In the Chart Type scroll-down menu, choose “Bar”.
  4. Finally, customize you Bar Chart as for any other chart. Go to the Chart Options on the right part of your screen, and personalize it with usual formatting possibilities: font type, size, colors, show or hide data labels.  

Tip 1: Avoid using a bar chart when you want to visualize the evolution of a category over time. Our eyes are used to see time linearly, from left to right, especially in Western countries. A Column chart would be preferred.


Tip 2: With a bar chart, negative values are displayed on the left of the vertical axis. This is not the best as we are more used to perceive anything below the basis level (here, the horizontal axis) as negative. Again, a Column chart would be preferred.