Visualization is crucial to truly understand data in this era of digital transformation. Charts and graphs can articulate a lot of great points, but points can be proven moot if visuals don’t clearly dictate these insights. Beyond the usual bar charts and pie graphs, there are other options to truly bring analytics to light. Combination charts are just one of the ways that data series can be transformed to make for better business strategy or understanding of trends and patterns.
Understanding Combination Charts
You may be asking yourself, why use a combination chart? It affords a great way to compare data in a few different categories over a set period of time. In general, there are two or three types of charts combined together to show a relationship between data points. Also known as combo charts, these visuals highlight differences between datasets, making it easy to see one set of information compared to another. This allows for bar charts and line graphs to be intertwined, clearly showing correlations, positive or negative, to inform decision-making.
Within combination charts, layers are arranged to make all information visible. Bars, a line, and an area graph could be utilized but should be orderly depending on the volumes of data being used. The important thing in data visualization in general is to keep things simple for viewers. Any chart can become difficult to decipher when there’s too much information. A crowded and complicated chart can take away from that clear view, so labeling axes and legends correctly are crucial. This gives the best understanding of what’s being measured and displayed.
When to Use Combo Charts
Since combination charts are a flexible and different way of displaying data, they are a useful addition to reports. It’s ideal to use a combo chart when mixing different sets of data to show some kind of trend between those types. These charts also provide some clarity across widely different data types. While relationships may be present, there are also outliers that don’t abide by the trends. Combo charts make it easy to spot these outliers, conveying a need to communicate data shape more than the value of categorical data.
Combination charts also rely on Pareto analysis to bring values and insights of different types of data to light. Pareto analysis is a mathematical technique that is used for decision-making. Also known as the 80/20 principle, this helps businesses identify which tasks produce the biggest effects, under the guidance that 20 percent of the work generates 80 percent of the benefits. A line chart within a simple combination chart will show the swift escalation on the left, slowly trailing off to the right on a dual-axis combo chart to maintain quality control by displaying types of data properly.
Benefits of Combination Charts
Whether you’re using a bar and line combination chart, a column and line, or an area, column, line chart, there is tremendous benefit to combo charts when it comes to data visualization. This is the best format to show outliers beyond relationships and patterns. This is ideal for identifying problems or positives to dictate business strategy, making changes in real-time as opposed to waiting out a problem within the inner workings of an organization.
However, the biggest benefit of combination charts is their ability to show what brings different types of data together. Whether to demonstrate the Pareto principle or another type of influence and interaction, a combo chart communicates this well so long as the right format options are taken. That’s why it’s in your best interest to look into how to use a combo chart rather than a regular chart to convey analytics and make sense of large numbers and datasets.