Column charts are often used to compare values across categories. As a specific example, we’ve plotted the number of social media followers a website might have on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
If you want to present more complex data using the same basic type of chart, you could do so with a clustered-column chart or stacked-column chart. In the examples below, an additional detail has been added: the number of social media followers per continent. As you can see, each color represents one continent.
In these charts you can see the differences between a clustered-column chart and a stacked-column chart. With a clustered chart, it’s easy to compare the number of followers from different continents, for each different platform. With the stacked chart, the numbers of followers are visually aggregated for each social platform. Thus you can readily tell each continent’s contribution to the total number of followers, for each platform. In statistics, this is called part-to-whole relationship.It’s also possible to combine clustered and stacked-column charts in one graph. This trick is ideal for comparing targets (revenue targets, for example) versus actual data. MS Office doesn’t offer this chart type yet, but you can follow these step-by-step instructions as laid out by the Peltier Tech Blog to create one.
If you find this article useful, you might also want to check the other articles in this charts series: