What are advantages and disadvantages of a bar chart? 

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  • Bar charts are pretty easy to interpret, and there's a very clear relationship between size and value that allows easy comparison.
  • They're simple to make and most people have experience creating and understanding them from school.
  • They can help in presenting very large or very small values more emphatically.


  • Bar charts that attempt to represent wide ranges of numbers will struggle to efficiently communicate their message. For example, a bar chart for the numbers 5, 6, 10 and 378 will lend extreme visual weight to the highest value and make the relative values of the other measurements appear irrelevant. An alternative to this would be creating an adjusting scale for the bars, but this complicates the visual aspect of the presentation and breaks the intuitive sense that size correlates directly to value.
  • Bar graphs tend to be locked into a particular data set, making it hard to show multiple values or changes over time unless the chart is modified, such as by making the bars layered and three-dimensional.
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