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14. Stacked Bar Chart - Summary

Instruction

You’re on a roll! Let’s go over what we’ve learned about the 100% stacked bar chart.

Pie charts are somewhat controversial; use one the wrong way and it can lead to misrepresenting or misunderstanding the data. However, they’re not the only chart that can visualize parts of a whole: the 100% stacked bar chart can as well.

Below are some situations when a 100% stacked bar chart is better than a pie chart:

  • When you’re comparing similar values.
  • When you’re comparing a lot of categories. A good general rule is to include no more than six categories in a pie chart. If you have seven or more categories, use a 100% stacked bar chart or create a consolidated "Other" category to group less-important categories into one wedge.
  • When you’re comparing two or more groups. Never ask readers to compare values from two pie charts! It’s very difficult to compare wedge sizes across charts.
  • Stacked Bar Chart

    Use these best practices for a 100% stacked bar chart:

    • Rotate the chart to make comparisons more effective.
    • Remove the vertical categorical axis if you’re not using it.