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. 


1

Refine

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.

Labels

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: 

Appearance

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: 


2

Annotate

Describe chart

If you've created a Datawrapper chart or map before, you already know this feature. Here we can give your chart a title, a description, add notes, and a source:

  • We recommend using the title to tell your readers what's interesting about this chart – the one key statement that you want to show on this chart, e.g. "Unemployment highest in the south"
  • The description should have as much information about the data as possible: What do we see exactly? E.g. "Unemployment rates in % in all US states, 2016"
  • Think of notes as footnotes, where we want to clarify any abnormalities about your data. E.g. "California unemployment rates from Jan and Feb 2016 not included in the calculation."
  • The source name will give our readers information on how trustworthy our data is. Does it come from a government institution or another trustworthy organization? The source URL lets our reader dig even deeper and have a look at the underlying data themselves. Both, source name and source URL, should be filled out on every map or chart to increase transparency. E.g. US Bureau of Labour Statistics, August 2017

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). 


3

Design

In the ''Design'' tab under step 3: Visualize, you can select a  preset layout. Should it come with the Datawrapper layout or in the custom design of your organization? 

You can also change the  Output Locale for your map. This affects the language of the attribution in the bottom left of your map and defines decimal and thousand separators as well as translation of month and weekday names.

You can also and  enable social sharing function to share your work. If you select the checkbox, the share buttons for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will appear on the top-right corner of your map. Users of the Free plan have two options: one layout with and one without the "Get the data" link. Users of Datawrapper's Custom and Enterprise plan have the option to select a custom layout here. 


4

Publish

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.