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Bar Chart/Bar Graph

The bar chart, in comparison to the pie chart is more versatile in representing data. It has been proven that representation using lengths as in the case of bar charts is a better indicator of data vis-a-vis pie charts wherein data is categorized in terms of areas.
 
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In the above diagram, the same data has been represented length-wise in the bar chart and area-wise in the pie chart. Obviously, it is easier to see the contribution of the various segments in the bar chart than in the pie chart.


A therefore, is a chart with rectangular bars of lengths proportional to the values which they represent. Usually, the terms ‘bar chart’ and ‘bar graph’ are used interchangeably. It should also be noted that in a bar chart, what matters is the length of the bar and not the width of the bar.

The following bar chart represents the number of seats won by different parties in the last general election.
 
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Significance of Bar Charts

Following are the major specialities of bar charts:
 
Unlike the pie chart, a single bar chart can be used to compare two, or more than two continuous variables.
 
The following bar chart represents the number of seats won by different parties in two general elections:
 
Description: 44329.png 

Since the length parameter is easier to study than the area parameter, a bar chart gives a quick understanding of the various ranks. Hence the time taken to understand the data becomes condiserably lower in a bar chart as compared to other formats of data presentation.

Types of Bar Charts

There are three types of bar charts:
  1. Normal Bar Chart
    This is a simple bar chart with the values of different segments represented in the form of bars,which could be either horizontal, vertical or both.
The following bar chart represents the crime cases reported in Delhi in 2007:
 
Bar Chart with Vertical Bars
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Bar Chart with Horizontal Bars

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Bar Charts with 3–D Effects

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  1. Stacked Bar Chart Value-wise
    When the same variable is to be represented on more than one parameters like; year etc., then we can have a stacked bar chart.
  2. Stacked Bar Chart Percentage-wise
    The only difference between value-wise and percentage-wise bar charts is that in the former we apply values to stack the bars and in the latter we apply percentages.
     
    Stacked Bar Charts are also known as Cumulative Bar Charts.
     
    Here, we will see the same data in a normal bar chart, value-wise stacked bar chart and stacked bar chart percentage-wise
Normal Bar Chart
Description: 44301.png 
 
Following things can be observed in the above bar chart:
 
Bars representing different crimes in different years are proportional to the crimes reported.
 
The above bar chart takes the minimum value as 100, however the same bar chart could take the minimum value as 0 or 50 or anything else as well. The question here is, what will happen if we take the minimum value as 150?
 
Since some of the values are less than 150, what will happen to those? Find out yourself without using a computer.
 
Stacked Bar Chart Value-wise
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Following things can be observed in the above stacked bar chart:
  • The total number of murders have been added up in one bar and the different years are shown as a part of that total.
  • The same data could also have been represented by taking the sum of all the crimes reported in a particular year as a total, and the individual crimes as a part of that total.
Stacked Bar Chart Percentage-wise
Description: 44289.png
 
Following things can be observed in the above stacked bar chart:
  • The total number of murders have been added up and they equal to 100%; and the murders reported in different years have been taken as a percentage of that total.
  • The same data could have been represented by taking the sum of all the crimes reported in a particular year as a total, and the individual crimes as a part of that total.




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