There are a number of advantages and limitations to using graphs and charts.
To start with the advantages, graphs and charts enable data to be summed up and understood in an instant, without relying on high levels of numerical analysis. In the business context, this is particularly useful during meetings and presentations. Graphs and charts enable people to get an immediate “big picture” of the issues and data at hand. Graphs and charts tend to make easy work of identifying trends, and they provide a logical way to break up long slabs of text in a presentation or document. A graph in this context is likely to be far more relevant than a picture.
To look briefly at the limitation of the use of graphs and charts, one has to remember that since these devices are a pictorial representation of information, they provide only a birds-eye view. While this can be useful, greater depth is often needed in order for wise decisions to be made. It is also important to remember that there are a number of different types of charts and graphs (pie chart, bar graph, pictograph, and so on), and in order for the data representation to be effective, the right type of graph must be chosen. Finally, graphically represented data can be easily manipulated to make a point.