Customizing your dot plot

After importing the data for your dot plot, you can refine, annotate and design your dot plot in step 3: Visualize. Let's walk through the main steps Refine, Annotate and Design before publishing the chart. 



In any tab of step 3: Visualize, you can click, hold, and drag the arrow in the lower right corner to scale the chart window or manually determine the dimension of the chart by entering values in the boxes below the chart ("Chart Size"). We recommend doing this step first, but you can change the size of your chart at any point.


In the "Refine" tab, we see four panels. The first panel lets you choose how you want your labels to look. 

Here we can choose which element in your chart shows which data:

  • Select column: Select the column header that contains labels for each row. These labels are in your category-column. We'll choose the column "Country/Territory" for our labels.
  • Alignment: Should the labels (the names of your categories left of the actual lines) be left-aligned or right-aligned? Left-aligned is the default, but depending on the labels, right-aligned could be more readable.
  • Show values on hover: You can choose to show or hide the values when you hover over the dots. Try this out yourself and see what happens!

For our chart, the panel looks like this at the end: 

Horizontal axis 

In the second panel in the "Refine" tab, we can customize how our x-axis should look like:

  • Axis range: We have three options: round, exact, and custom. Datawrapper chooses the extent of your x-axis based on the minimum and maximum value of your whole data. Selecting exact will accommodate the chart precisely to its width while round will show the next gridline outside of the exact width. Custom lets you decide the exact range of the x-axis by allowing you to manually enter the numbers. 
  • Number format: Our values might be percentages and we want to add a percentage  sign; or  our values are very high numbers (e.g. 3844929) and we want to shorten them (e.g. to 3.8m). With this option, we can make our data more readable. 
  • Custom grid lines: Your charts will have grid lines by default – but if you want to change this, you can do that here. Type in the numbers on which you want to see grid lines. E.g., typing in the two numbers "0, 20" will result in two grid lines on the entire x-axis: One at zero, the other one at 20. 
  • Tick position: Here, you can decide whether you want the ticks at the top or the bottom of the chart. 

For our chart, the panel looks like this at the end: 


In the third and last panel in the tab "Refine", we can  choose colors for our dots. We can choose one color for all our dots (click on "Base color" to change the default color). When we click on "Customize colors", we can choose individual colors for all those dots that represent values from one column. In our chart, we do that to give the dots that represent the values from our columns "Total", "Male" and "Female" different colors:

In this panel, we can also decide if our chart should have a color key or not. And we can decide if our chart should display a thick line between our dots with "Highlight range between dots"

Sorting & Grouping 

In the fourth and last panel, we can decide how to  sort the order of the rows and decide how you want to group them. 

  • Sort bars: You can keep the order of your spreadsheet by leaving this option unselected. If you select this option, you can choose the column you want to sort the bars by. For example, if you select the "Male" column, the rows will be sorted accordingly and the row with the largest Male median age will come to the very top of the chart. 
  • Reverse order: If you select this option, you will have the row with the youngest median age at the very top. Our data is already sorted from the oldest to youngest for the "Total" median age so we will keep it unselected. 
  • Group bars by column: You can upload an extra column to put categories into extra groups. In our case, we could have a column that indicates the continents our countries are in. Each row in this column would have the name of the continent in it: "Europe", "Australia", "Asia", etc. If we chose that column as our "Groups", the chart would group all the countries that are on the same continent together. 

For our chart, the panel looks like this at the end: 



In the Annotate tab, you're first asked to give your visualization a title, description, notes, source, byline, and an alternative description for screen readers. You can find a detailed explanation of all these Annotate options here.

Highlight element

In the 2nd panel in the "Annotate" tab, we can emphasize the dots from a certain column. If you want to emphasize certain labels (categories) instead, just go directly into the label in the chart, select the label of your choice and make it bold with pressing Strg+B (Windows)or Cmd+B (Mac). 



In the Layout tab, you can select an output locale, change the design theme and footer options, and enable social sharing. Find a detailed explanation of all the Layout options here.



After we have worked through the four tabs of step 3: Visualize, we can now proceed to step 4: Publish & Embed.  The best way to use a Datawrapper chart is by embedding it directly on your website. To do that, click the big blue button that says " Publish chart". Then, copy & paste the embed code snippet into your website or CMS. You can also download your chart in two formats. First, users of all subscription plans have the option to download their chart as a PNG. Custom and Enterprise plan users also have the option to download their chart as SVG or PDF. Click here for more information on the different pricing plans of Datawrapper.