Customizing your range plot

After importing the data for your range plot, you can refine, annotate and design your range plot in step 3: Visualize. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through all these steps to create the following 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 ("Resize to"). We recommend to do this step first, but you can change the size of your chart at any point.

Customizing the axes

In the "Refine" tab, we see three panels. The first panel lets us customize your axes. Here we can choose which element in your chart shows which data:

  • Labels: Select the column header that contains labels for each row. These labels are in your category-column. We'll choose the column "Education" for our labels.
  • Groups: You can upload an extra column to put categories into groups. In our case, we could have a column that indicates if our education levels are below high school or above high school level. Each row in this column would have either the text "below high school" or "above high school". If we chose this column as our "Groups", the chart would make a separation between these two levels.
  • Range start: Select  one of  your numeric columns. In our case, we choose the column "Women". 
  • Range end: Select the other numeric column. We choose the column "Men".

Hint: It doesn't really matter which one of your numeric columns you choose for the Range start and which one you choose for the Range end. The chart won't look different. However, you will need to remember which column you chose for which to select your colors a bit later.

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

Sorting, grid

In this panel, we have three important decisions to make:

  1. The order of our rows: How should the lines and labels be sorted? You can keep the order of your spreadsheet, or you can sort the lines by the values of the range start (the column "Women", in our case), by end date ("Men"), by the difference between the start and end date or by the percentage point change between the start and the end date. 
  2. The extent of your x-axis: Datawrapper chooses the extent of your x-axis based on the minimum and maximum value of your whole data. If you'd like to change the default extent, you can do that here. As opposed to bar charts, you can have a minimum value that's greater than zero.
  3. If you want different grid lines: Your charts will have grid lines without touching that option – but if you want to change the default, you can do that here. Type in the numbers on which you want to see gridlines. E.g., typing in the two numbers "0, 20" will result in two gridlines on the entire x-axis: One at zero, the other one at 20. 

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 on both sides: The range start color and the range end color. Click on the color to choose an individual color:

In this panel, we can also decide if our chart should have a color key or not. This will create a tiny legend above the two dots of the top line in our chart. To explain to our readers what the dots mean, we choose to turn on the color key. 



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 specify 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 the information how trustworthy our data is. Does it come from a government institution or another trustworthy organization? The source URL lets our reader dig 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


In the 2nd panel in the "Annotate" tab, we can make three kinds of decisions about labels:

  1. Bar label 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. Label values: Here we can decide if you want values to be displayed next to the dots, and which ones you want to display. You can choose to display the values from your columns with "start", "end" or "both". Datawrapper can calculate the difference or the change in percentage point between the two values on each line. 



In this last step, we can select a preset layout and enable social sharing functions to share our work with others. 

  • Users of the Free plan have two layout options: one with and one without the "Get the data" link
  • Users of Datawrapper Custom and Enterprise plan have the option to select from either a custom layout or opt for the default Datawrapper theme 



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 as a PNG or PDF. All Datawrapper users- regardless of their subscription plan- have the option to download their charts as PNG. Users of Custom and Enterprise plan also have the option to download their charts and maps as PDF for printing or modifying them later in Adobe Illustrator. Click here for more information on the different pricing plans of Datawrapper.

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