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Differences between Bar and Pie Charts

This paper describes specific techniques employed when presenting quantitative differences between Bar and Pie Charts.

Both bar and pie charts are used for the purpose to demonstrate trends in data and make comparison between different quantitative variables. In such a way, it becomes obvious that different types of charts and graphs are needed to most effectively present different types of findings while making presentation.

Beginning with the description of bar charts, it is necessary to mention that bar charts are chiefly used for a specific kind of visual comparison of the statistical data or to detect and analyze their changes over the time. Building of a bar chart includes a presentation of statistics in several forms which can be imaged in the form of vertical rectangles or three-dimensional rectangular columns. Each bar in its turn represents the value of the level of the statistical series and may be vertical or horizontal. All figures are expressed by a single unit of measurement, so exactly bar charts allow to compare the statistics of the process. In addition to bar charts, pie charts are also widely used, because the idea to show a part of a whole is very clearly expressed in a circle, which represents the totality (if all parts total 100%). The relative magnitude of each value is represented by a sector of a circle whose area corresponds to the contribution of this value in the sum of the values. This type of chart is useful when it is important to show the value of each part in the total. Sectors can be displayed both in a circle and separately located in a short distance from each other. Pie chart retains its clarity only if the total number of parts is small. If there are too much parts of the diagram, then its use becomes inefficient due to insignificant differences in the compared structures. According to Tufte (2001), the main shortcomings of pie charts are a small capacity, and the inability to reflect a broad range of useful information.

Thus, we have observed specific techniques employed when presenting quantitative differences between Bar and Pie Charts with all necessary details in the body of this paper.


Tufte, E. (2001). The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphics Press.