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3 Graphs You Can Use To Tell Your Data's Story

Instant Graphification… we coined that term. What does it mean? It means easily explaining your story with a strong visual graph. Let’s put it like this… No one should spend a long period of time looking at your graph, trying to figure out what you’re talking about - they should instantly understand exactly what story you’re trying to tell them.

What is your story? No, not like your life story. What story are you trying to communicate with your data?

Maybe you’re trying to show how sales drop midweek at a restaurant. Maybe you’re trying to show the average dollar amount a customer spends at a business. Maybe you want to show revenue trends over time.

The first thing you have to do is narrow down your story. Next, choose the graph that will best represent it.

Listed below are 13 chart types. Some of them you will use more than others, but it’s always good to know your options.

(Before we continue we would like to say one thing… Don’t use a pie graph. Like ever. You're better off using one of the other options we mention.)

Now we'll go into more detail about 3 of our favorite graphs to use for our business:

1. Line Graph

When you look at this graph, what story is it telling you? You can see that sales drastically drop between Monday and Thursday, then increase towards the weekend. In order to drive that point home, we added text beneath the graph to explain the trend.

2. Bar Graph

The purpose of a bar graph is for category comparison. In this example, we are showing total sales by type of product. With some coloring and organization, we make it easy for you to see which is the highest selling item and which is the lowest. We added the total sales number to the right of each bar for more details for comparison.

3. Highlight Table

A highlight table simply takes a regular table to the next step by highlighting important data with color, bolding, or font size. Here we show you the effect of emphasizing important data by comparing a normal table to a highlighted one. Although color is important, you have to remember to keep it simple. Avoid using too many or too bright of colors to prevent the reader from getting confused.

As you can see, using graphs is a very powerful way of presenting your data to others. Choosing the right graph is important so the story you're telling is clearly represented. If you haven't already, start implementing graphs into your data reports for both clarity and visual fun. Happy graphing!

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