# 5.9: Bar and Column Charts

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Bar charts are practical for comparing the differences between values with horizontal bars. The lengths of the bars are proportional to the size of the data category they represent. A vertical bar chart is referred to as a column chart, and they are basically the same – just 90° apart. Unlike a pie chart, a bar chart can include several series of data. Bar charts are simple, easy and flexible, and thanks to the horizontal layout, bar charts can accommodate longer category names. Bar (and column) charts contain the following objects:

• Chart title – describes what is charted.
• Chart area – the entire chart and all of its elements.
• Plot area – the region within the horizontal and vertical axes.
• Axes titles (horizontal, vertical)- describe the data.
• Legend – an index of information that corresponds to the series names.
• Data labels – identify each value in a data series.
• Value axis (y-axis) – contains values. Horizontal axis on bar charts and vertical axis on column charts.
• Category axis (x-axis) – contains the category labels. Horizontal axis on column charts and vertical axis on bar charts.
• Gridlines – mark the intervals on an axis.

While the data and chart above only displays one data series, most bar and column charts tend to display multiple data series to compare and contrast one set of data against another. The chart below adds a second data series in column C, and changes the chart type to a column chart. The two different data series are illustrated with different color data points. Also, note how the axes change directions! The value axis maximum, major and minor units were also modified to different numerical values.