The Difference Between Bar Graphs and Line Graphs

When you want to present critical information to your audience, you must ensure that you have the most appropriate means of delivering the data report. This is why you need to understand the difference between bar graphs vs line graphs. Also, you need to get deep into the details and clearly interpret where you need to apply any of the two. It’s essential to ensure that you deliver information in the right context for your readers to understand clearly what you are trying to communicate.

 In addition, when you opt to use the graphs in your data presentation, you need to ensure that you have some basic information about the line and bar graphs. Remember that these are the most common types of charts; you need to understand how they operate to make it easier to communicate essential information in a manner that is easy to understand. Note that bar graphs used rectangular blocks when representing different kinds of data.

 On the flip side, the line graph uses lines to represent different sorts of trends within a particular time frame. The bar and line graphs are used in different scenarios to represent various data concepts. However, there is more information behind closed doors that you need to know to make your work easier when you decide to use any of your preferred data processing methods between the two. Let’s dive into more details!

 What is a Bar Graph?

 Bar graphs used rectangular blocks to represent different sorts of data. The height of every block within the graph goes hand in hand with the value or quantity represented on the graph. The vertical axis represents different data values, such as the total number of every type of object that needs to be represented.

On the other hand, the horizontal axis represents data in the form of categories. For instance, when you want to use a bar graph to represent different types of cars in a parking lot, the blocks can represent different types of cars while the height represents the number of each type of car within the parking lot.

 Note that the bars are flexible enough and can represent anything that you can easily fix into this category. You can even decide to fix the values of the same but at different points. Also, the bar’s height can represent anything such as counts, percentages, frequencies, and total revenues. The interesting thing about bar graphs is that they are the most common options, and anyone can easily use them without requesting help on how to translate the information displayed.

 When using a bar graph, you only need to be keen on what you present within the vertical and horizontal axis. This is because the two determine the final reading on the graph that you need to use when creating a data report.

 What is a Line Graph?

 The only difference between a line graph and a bar graph is that in a line graph, you plot individual data points on both the horizontal and the vertical axis and join the neighbouring data points using straight lines. The vertical axis can represent anything, although the horizontal axis represents the change in time.

The lines outlined across the graph are used to indicate a continuous change over a particular time frame. Sometimes the lines represent different kinds of quantities that change sequentially. This includes things such as distance, among others.

 When you look at the physical appearance of the line chart, you will identify some notable features that make the two different. The difference is the use of thin lines in a line graph and the application of blocks on the bar graph. In addition, the function of the two types of charts differs from one another.

Note that line graphs also have the ability to present different kinds of trends in various quantities over a given time frame. This is made possible by using multiple numbers of lines instead of one line.

 When you Should Use a Bar Graph

 Given that bar graphs are some of the most common types of charts available, it means that they are essential in different data processing instances. However, before you begin using a bar graph, you need to be capable of breaking down your data into different categories or grouping it so that every group has a unique meaning.

Remember that the vertical axis can represent anything you prefer. This means you have more freedom when you want to process data since it doesn’t limit what you intend to present.

For instance, you can use a one-way graph to present your data when you want to showcase frequency distribution. This distribution will help you understand how the data collected in different scenarios spread across different values.

Note that using a bar graph gives you a simple presentation of your data in a visual format that is easy to understand by asking any question. You can plot a bar graph representing profits and losses that you make within different departments in a store.

 You can generate a bar for every store department and the profits or losses made across the departments. The graph allows you to easily present data trends over a particular time while the bars represent every quarter for the general store.

A bar graph has room to showcase trends within a particular time frame across all the store departments. However, you will likely get it difficult to interpret the information, especially when the changes within the data trends are smaller.

 When You Should Use a Line Graph

 Line graphs are pretty cool if you want to identify any small changes that took place in your data. When comparing line graphs to bar graphs, you need to understand that it’s difficult to spot small changes in your data when you use a bar graph.

The lines make it easier for you to spit any changes regardless of how small they are. Even though line graphs are less versatile than bar graphs, they are much better since they are used multiple times.

 When you use a line graph to showcase profit trends for every department in a store within a certain duration, you can create a line to represent every department within the store. The progression of the line from left to right shows that the profits within the store have changed in successive quarters.

Every line within the graph represents a certain department within the store. This means that you can closely follow up on how every department is performing to get more insights into the business’s strides.

 This is contrary to a bar graph whereby you need to have a series of blocks whereby every bar represents an individual department within the store clustered together to represent different departments.

In addition, you will need to have another set of blocks that represents the next quarter. Once you have outlined all these data categories, you will realize that it’s difficult to make follow-ups on the performance of every department within the store.

You can as well use a line graph to display the performance of students’ results in different class tests. If the test measures similar skills among students, you can spot improvements in the successive tests. You can display this information by outlining the scores achieved by every student on the vertical axis and the tests outlined on the horizontal axis.

When you compare the score over a particular time frame, you will realize that the line linking the student results rises steadily if their abilities improve. If there are no changes, you can also make conclusions easily.


 The line graphs and the bar graphs operate in almost a similar manner. However, the line graph works better when you want to uncover smaller changes in your data, contrary to the bar graph, which is difficult to identify tiny changes. Before making a bar graph, you need to ensure that you have collected data from different educational sources and have all the necessary elements to make your data easier to process.

The exciting part is that the two are pretty simple to use, and you don’t need the training to understand how they operate. Ensure that you have the right data values, and you will have a clear visual that addresses all your data needs.

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