Chart facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

A chart, also called a graph, is a graphical representation of data, in which "the data is represented by symbols, such as bars in a bar chart, lines in a line chart, or slices in a pie chart". A chart can represent tabular numeric data, functions or some kinds of qualitative structure and provides different info.

The term "chart" as a graphical representation of data has multiple meanings:

  • A data chart is a type of diagram or graph, that organizes and represents a set of numerical or qualitative data.
  • Maps that are adorned with extra information (map surround) for a specific purpose are often known as charts, such as a nautical chart or aeronautical chart, typically spread over several map sheets.
  • Other domain specific constructs are sometimes called charts, such as the chord chart in music notation or a record chart for album popularity.

Charts are often used to ease understanding of large quantities of data and the relationships between parts of the data. Charts can usually be read more quickly than the raw data that they are produced from. They are used in a wide variety of fields, and can be created by hand (often on graph paper) or by computer using a charting application. Certain types of charts are more useful for presenting a given data set than others. For example, data that presents percentages in different groups (such as "satisfied, not satisfied, unsure") are often displayed in a pie chart, but may be more easily understood when presented in a horizontal bar chart. On the other hand, data that represents numbers that change over a period of time (such as "annual revenue from 1990 to 2000") might be best shown as a line chart.

Features of a chart

A chart can take a large variety of forms, however there are common features that provide the chart with its ability to extract meaning from data.

Typically the data in a chart is represented graphically, since humans are generally able to infer meaning from pictures quicker than from text. Text is generally used only to annotate the data.

One of the more important uses of text in a graph is the title. A graph's title usually appears above the main graphic and provides a succinct description of what the data in the graph refers to. The data of a chart can appear in all manner of formats, and may include individual textual labels describing the datum associated with the indicated position in the chart. The data may appear as dots or shapes, connected or unconnected, and in any combination of colors and patterns. Inferences or points of interest can be overlaid directly on the graph to further aid information extraction.

When the data appearing in a chart contains multiple variables, the chart may include a legend (also known as a key). A legend contains a list of the variables appearing in the chart and an example of their appearance. This information allows the data from each variable to be identified in the chart.

Types of charts

Images for kids


Chart Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.