Chart Settings That Can Make a Big Difference


Chartio has many different chart types for visualizing data. There are also unique chart settings for each chart type that can dramatically change and enhance your charts.

Horizontal Bar Charts

Bar charts are great for comparing data across different categories. When dividing your data by ranked or non-continuous groups (basically things other than time) it can be helpful to switch to a “horizontal” bar chart. It’s more natural for Western readers (we’re used to reading lines of different lengths aligned to a left edge), and especially helpful when you have longer labels on your bars.

Rotate Labels

Another tactic for handling extra-long label names is to use angled or rotated labels. This is great for situations when you can’t (or don’t want to) swap the axes of your chart, or when you have long labels on both axes. Angled labels will get harder to read the more they are rotated, so be careful to only angle them as much as needed.

Stacked vs Unstacked

Stacked bar charts are perfect when you want to focus on overall total values, but still hint at the parts making up the whole.

Other times, you may want to allow equal comparison of each piece to every other piece. These situations call for an “unstacked” chart.

Show Lines in Area Charts

Area charts also have the option to be stacked or unstacked in Chartio. If your data calls for an unstacked area chart, it’s possible there will be information hidden behind one of your layers. This is a good time to use the “Show line” option, which will make each layer semi-transparent, with a solid line at the edge.

Percentage Scale in Charts

Charts with with a percentage axis, sometimes called “100% stacked charts”, are useful for showing changes to a ratio in data instead of focusing on the totals.

Donut Charts with Totals

Pie charts are best used when focusing on static ratios. In Chartio, you can easily add a little more information (and a point of reference) to your pie charts by switching to a “donut” chart with a total in the center. This will add some negative space to the center of your pie chart, and use this space to display the total of your chart’s measure.