Chapter 6. Chart Your Data

Charts pull readers deeper into your story. Images such as the slope of a line chart, or clusterings of dots on a scatter chart, can communicate your evidence to readers’ eyes more effectively than text or tables. But creating meaningful charts that draw our attention to key insights in your data requires clear thinking about design choices.

In this chapter, we’ll learn to identify good charts from bad ones in “Chart Design Principles”. You’ll review important rules that apply to all charts, and also some aesthetic guidelines to follow when customizing your own designs. While many tools allow you to download charts as static images, our book also demonstrates how to construct interactive charts that invite readers to explore the data in their web browsers. Later you’ll learn how to embed interactive charts on your website in Chapter 9.

Learn about different types of charts you can create in this book in Table 6-1. Decisions about chart types are based on two main factors: the format of your data and the kind of story you wish to tell. For example, line charts work best to show a series of continuous data points (such as change over time), while range charts are better suited to emphasize the distance between data categories (such as inequality gaps). After selecting your chart type, follow our tool recommendations and step-by-step tutorials. This chapter features easy tools with drag-and-drop menus in “Google Sheets Charts”, “Datawrapper Charts”, and ...

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