How to create a bar chart

The bar chart is probably the most all-rounded chart type out there. In this tutorial, you will learn how to prepare and upload your dataset to create a bar chart with Datawrapper. Our version chart type is fully responsive and offers a number of features which are hard to find elsewhere. Along with the line chart it is our most often used chart type.

1. Preparing and importing the data

Create a new chart in Datawrapper and upload or copy & paste your dataset. Datawrapper can work with all kinds of data, from Excel or Google Sheets to CSVs or just a pasted table.

For example, this dataset supplies the chart above. Note that the big numbers for the budgets are intentionally without currency symbols or extra formatting. For any data visualization tool, unformatted numbers are always best, because the potential of errors is reduced. 

Canada 17885.7
France 22619.22
Germany 20656.97
Italy 18132.11
Japan 15372.92
Great Britain 17622.17
USA 20741.03

Source:  OECD

Your dataset should be formatted like this:

  • Descriptive labels in the first column as categories.
    This will determine the label in front of each bar.
  • Corresponding values in the second column as categorical dimensions.
    This will determine the length of each corresponding bar.

Copy the dataset into the upload field in Datawrapper. Then click "Upload" and continue.

2. Check & Describe

In the second step, you can check if your dataset was imported correctly and make changes to it - if necessary. In this case, you have to untick "First row as label" to avoid losing your first row of data. Always remember to do this if you don't have descriptive row and column headers.

Datawrapper will now automatically create placeholder labels for each column that will help you later on when you refine the chart. By selecting a certain output locale, Datawrapper chooses the correct decimal and thousand separator for you.

Click on " Proceed" to get to the visualization process. 

3. Visualize

You will notice that Datawrapper already made a bar chart based on your dataset. As for the next steps, you can further refine, annotate, and design the chart. We cover this in a separate short tutorial found here.

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