Which diagram do I use?

Charts are always most useful when they are used correctly. The big challenge is to use the right diagram from the wide range of Office. Not all options are equally good, many of the charts are only usable for specific tasks and yes, picking the wrong chart can be a mistake.

But don’t worry, the following list shows in detail under what circumstances a diagram can be used. If you’re not sure which chart fits best, you should create several charts, look at them, and consider which chart best supports your message.

This listing shows the most important diagrams and only in their basic form. In Excel, PowerPoint and Word charts can also be combined and strongly modified.

Grouped columns

Grouped columns or just a column chart is the all-purpose chart and if you are not sure which chart to use, then the choose this type. Column charts work especially well when mapping fluctuations within a time period or comparing individual items (current sales vs. past sales).

Beam Diagram

These charts are rotated bar charts and cannot represent time sequences well. Bar charts have the advantage that the axis labels can be much larger. Even whole sentences can be used and are easier to read. This type of chart is also suitable for showing a sequence: top response, etc.

Pie chart

… is also called pie chart and shows ratios in a total quantity (100%) – always at a fixed point in time. Each expression represents the percentage share (3.6° per one percent share). Be careful that there are not too many expressions in a pie. Many smaller expressions can be grouped together as “Other”.

Area diagram

These charts are line charts that color their area to the X-axis, making them more present. They emphasize relative meanings of values in a time period. Deviations are shown more dramatically.

Dot plot

Dot plots show number pairings again. They can be taken as trends or changes. Dot plots can represent hundreds and thousands of pairs of numbers in one diagram. In statistics, dot plots are often used to represent a data cloud and to visualize linear regressions.

Stacked columns

Stacked columns are a variant of the column chart. Here, the individual elements are added up, which creates more clarity. Stacked columns are chosen when the sum and the ratio of the individual elements are compared in different areas or time periods.

Line chart

Line charts are suitable when several temporal developments or trends are to be displayed and the course is to be emphasized. If possible, make sure that the line charts are not too different or too far apart. Line charts are often used for values from formulas such as the price-earnings ratio or the equity ratio.

Pie chart

In contrast to a pie chart, several data series can be compared as levels of rings. Use a maximum of three rings (levels) per chart or make a second pie chart. Never show time trends with multiple circles. Especially with pie charts, show as few expressions as possible.

Network diagram

This diagram spans a mesh over the intersection of its axes. Each factor is given an axis starting from the zero point. The network diagram illustrates several expressions of different data series simultaneously and clearly.

Bubble chart

This type belongs to the category of dot plots. The special feature of the bubble diagram is its three axes. The x- and y-axes determine the position of the bubble, as in the other charts, and the z-axis as the third characteristic determines the circumference of the bubble. The data points are literally inflated and can thus provide three-dimensional analysis. The most famous bubble chart in economics is the BCG matrix (Boston-I-Portfolio).

This is how it continues

Now you know which diagram to choose. Click on this link if you want to know how to insert a diagram and individual elements.