Column Chart is one of the most common visualizations. It presents your data in rectangular vertical bars with height proportional to the values of a measure.
When to use Column Chart?
Column Chart is often used when we need to compare values between discrete categories. For example, the number of orders placed by Male and Female customers, or revenue generated by different geographies...
You can also use clustered columns to compare multiple measures at the same time.
Create a Column Chart
At Visualizations, select Column Chart. Under the Settings tab, drag in the necessary dimensions and measures:
- X-axis: Place the field containing the categories you want to compare here.
- Legend: Place the field containing the sub-categories that further break down your measures
- Y-axis: The measure that you want to compare should go here.
Clustered Column Charts
Use Legend to break down a measure
When adding a categorical field into the Legend area, each column will be split into multiple columns corresponding to the categories. Each column still represents the same measure.
Include multiple measures
If you want to include different measures of the same scale (for example Gross Merchandise Value & Net Merchandise Value), you can put them in the same Y-axis:
The Dos and Don'ts
Use (Horizontal) Bar Chart if you have too many categories
While Column Chart is great to compare a few categories, it is not easy to use when there are more. Your users can be distracted when there are too many unordered vertical columns. Column labels are also tilted and hard to read because there is not enough space:
In this case, it makes sense to use the horizontal Bar Chart, and sort the bars in descending order:
Use low-cardinality dimension in Legend
Too many columns in a cluster will cause distraction and make it hard for chart readers to compare values across dimensions.
For example, you want to compare the average value of orders placed by males and females across different categories:
It makes more sense to put the Gender in Legend field instead of Category:
Measures in the same cluster should be of the same scale
It may be tempting to put measures of different scales on the same chart to convey as much information as possible. However, we recommend against this practice because it may cause confusion to your users.
For example, here we put Orders Count and Cancelled Order Ratio together on the same chart. It is confusing to look at a column of raw counts and a column of percentage next to each other.
With Column Chart you have standard styling options for X-axis, Legend and Y-axis.
The Stack series option is particularly useful for Column Chart. When you have a dimension in the Legend field and choose Stack series, you can have an effective comparison of sub-categories' distribution across another dimension.
For example, here we have a comparison of orders placed by males and females of different age groups: