Data in text and numerical format can be overwhelming and is one step too many before comprehension sets in, unlike data in visual illustrations. With graphs, one glance and your audience already gets the gist of your content. Why? Because our brains naturally process visuals 60,000 times faster compared to texts.
Converting mountains of data into a simplified graph can be intimidating. Questions like “Where would we even start?” “And which graphs are the easiest?” “Does ‘easy’ mean it’s the right graph to use?” are some of the many uncertainties that have crossed everyone’s mind. Thankfully, graphs are now much easier to put together. In fact, graph makers are heaven-sent when it comes to transforming raw data into a suitable visual presentation. Here’s how:
- Choose an online graph maker.
Creating graphs on an Excel worksheet isn’t the worst method, but it’s no longer the only one or the best one either. Online graph makers are not only much more efficient to use than an offline worksheet; they’re also much more diverse and visually appealing. While most websites require paid subscriptions to simply access templates, crowd favorites like Venngage don’t.
- Select the most suitable type of graph.
Since creation and design are taken care of by a graph creator online, the trickiest part of the process is selecting the correct type of graph for your data. And yes, there are a few to choose from, and every kind of graph has its own purpose in ensuring your data is conveyed clearly and in a suitable form.
There are at least ten types of graphs, but let’s recount the ones that are the most commonly used. Particularly the line graph, bar graph, and scatter plot.
- Line graph
Representing data as points connected together by a straight line, the line graph is the easiest type of graph to plot and comprehend. It is used to analyze data trends over a period of time. The line graph itself has three subcategories: simple, multiple, and compound line graphs.
- Bar graph
A bar chart presents its data content as rectangular blocks or bars. Typically used in representing categorical data, the height of each block or bar represents the quantitative data of each category. It helps summarize complex and huge categorical data into a digestible format. However, further explanation might be required as it does not divulge trends or causal relationships between variables.
- Scatter plot
Not all data are systematic or related. In visualizing random data, scatter plot is the ideal graph to use. Data are plotted as dots or markers, but they are not connected. If the dots or markers are closely plotted together, it means that there’s a correlation between the two variables. However, if the dots or markers are randomly spaced throughout the diagram, that means there is no correlation between the variables.
Once you have selected the most suitable type of graph for your data, you can choose from the different designs and templates available that are the most appealing to you. This is the most fun part! Hover over the templates to see a preview, then click “Create” when you are ready to start!
- Import data from a worksheet or directly encode on graph maker.
If you already have your set of data ready in a worksheet, all there is to do is import it onto your graph maker. Easy, right? Just ensure that your variables are inputted under the correct row and column corresponding to their assigned axis. Accurate data entry is crucial in making sure that your data is presented correctly in the plotted graph.
If your data still needs prepping, you can directly encode it on your graph maker! The beauty of inputting raw data into Venngage’s graph maker is that it tells you which axis you’re putting your variables in. Simple and easy! We can admit that we have all been there, getting confused if the y or x-axis goes in the rows or cells. There’s no shame in that! But there is a solution, and that’s why graph makers are indeed works of art — and efficiency.
- Customize the design.
….or not. It’s up to you. But it’s a great option to be able to easily customize premade templates to suit your style or adhere to your organization’s branding. Change the color palette, font style or size, add a label, you name it. And you can rest assured that you will not accidentally alter your data while you make adjustments to your graph’s aesthetics.
- Share or download!
And that’s it! Once you’re satisfied with your data’s visual representation, choose to share the final product to peers and colleagues directly via the chosen platform (email, Messenger app, etc.) or download directly to your selected device.
Need to update or change details on the graph after you’ve shared or downloaded it? No sweat. The “Save” feature on Venngage’s graph maker allows you to do just that. See? Graphs are really now made easy. Evolution as its finest! There’s no reason to get stuck on old-school methods if they’re no longer serving our needs!
Image Source: BigStockPhoto.com (Licensed)