How to Choose the Right Chart for Your Data

DataViz – The Big Picture – Chi Squared

Graphs might not lie, but if you plot truthful data on an inappropriate graph, you’ll be guilty of misleading your audience, whether wittingly or otherwise.

Lee Baker

This page is to whet your appetite for the book DataViz: How to Choose the Right Chart for Your Data. (See References below.) I highly recommend this book.

In this book you’ll go through the basics of graph plotting so that you can learn to make good data choices.

In Chapter 1, you’ll learn about:

  • How many variables you can plot on each graph (and how many you should plot – a very different proposition!).
  • The different types of graphs you’ll commonly plot (spoiler alert – there are 3 data graph types).

In Chapter 2, you’ll learn about:

  • Which variable to put on which axis.

In Chapter 3, you’ll learn about:

  • How to decide which type of chart to use (another spoiler – there are 4 questions to ask to help you decide).

In Chapter 4, you’ll move on to learn about the most used types of graphs in statistics (there are 8 of them!).

Why are we looking at presenting statistical charts?

Well, statisticians are very strict about doing things the right way, and there is a lot to be learned from them. If you want to learn about anatomy, you go to a doctor. When you want to learn about programming, you go and find the nearest available geek (yes, I’m a geeky programmer). And if you want to learn about charting, you go to a statistician (I’m a statistician too).

Oh, you want to know about the 8 types of charts? Well, I thought you might want to leave it as a surprise, but OK, here goes:

The 8 most commonly used types of graphs in statistics for presenting data are:

  1. Column Chart or Bar Chart
  2. Line Chart
  3. Scatter Plot
  4. Bubble Chart
  5. Pie Chart
  6. Box and Whiskers Plot
  7. Contingency Table
  8. Confusion Matrix

For each of these charts you’ll learn about:

  • What it is.
  • When to use it.
  • When not to use it.
  • Best practice.
  • The different types you’ll encounter.

You’ll also get an example and a guide to correct interpretation.

In Chapter 5, you’ll learn about:

How to pick the right chart for your data.

In Chapter 6, you’ll recap the do’s and don’ts of chart plotting.

And finally, in Chapter 7, you’ll be introduced to DataViz – The Big Picture, the ultra-high-def image you’ve heard people whisper about in dark corridors, and you’ll use it to correctly choose the right chart to accurately – and inspirationally – tell the story of your data.


Baker, Lee. Dataviz – How To Choose The Right Chart For Your Data. Dundee, Tayside, Scotland: CSI Publishing, 2021.

“Dataviz – How To Choose The Right Chart For Your Data”. 2021. Chi-Squared Innovations.

Additional Reading

“Graphs & Charts”. 2022. Mathematical Mysteries.

Website Powered by

Up ↑