Customizing your scatter plot: Annotate

TThis tutorial describes how to customize a scatter plot in Datawrapper in the "Annotate" step in step 3: Visualize. We assume that you have already  uploaded your dataset into Datawrapper and refined your scatterplot. In this tutorial, we annotate our chart, label it, add tooltips and talk about how to add custom text and custom lines and areas to this chart:

If you go to "Annotate" in step 3: Visualize, you'll find five panels. The first one is "Annotate your


Describe your 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 about 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


In this panel, you can decide if your columns should be labeled, and if so, with which column. In the most cases, it makes sense to use the first column in your data set for that. In our case, that's the "Country" column.

You can now decide how your labels should appear. Do you want Datawrapper to label your data points automatically? Then labels will automatically appear if there's space for them (we make sure that they don't overlap each other). In the mobile view, fewer labels will appear than in the desktop view. 

You can also select labels that should always appear in your chart, in the dropdown menu or directly in the chart. If you want to delete these added labels, just click on them. 

And if you want your readers to recognize easily which labels appear to which data point, you can "highlight labeled symbols". 


Add custom text to plot

This panel enables you to add annotations to your chart. Our annotation tool is powerful and therefore deserves its own article. If you're curious about this tool, check it out: "How to create text annotations"


Customize tooltip

Our scatter plots are interactive: If readers hover over a data dot, more information can appear in a tooltip. In this panel, we can decide which information will appear. 

First, you need to decide if you want to enable this feature and want your readers to see tooltips. If that's the case, check "show tooltips". You can then click on the "edit tooltip template" to decide the content of your tooltips: 

Maybe you already know this feature from our Map tool. If not and you're curious to learn how to use the tooltip feature, visit this article: "How to create useful tooltips"


Add custom lines and areas (experimental)

In the last panel of "Annotate", we can add extra lines and areas to our scatterplots. That's helpful if we want to add a rectangle around/behind certain data dots, or if we want to show a threshold line. Writing "y=50" will create a horizontal line at the vertical axis point "50 years" (the same works for the horizontal axis, e.g. "x=2000"). You can also define points, consisting of an x value and a y value, e.g. "2000, 50". If you define two points, a line will go through, e.g. "2000, 50, 4000, 70". Three or more points will define areas.

As you can see, we can design these lines and areas. Here are all options that are available: 

@dashed Makes a dashed line
@dotted Makes a dotted line
@color:red / @color:#cc0000 Colors the line/area
@opacity:0.5 Makes the line/area more transparent (values between 0 and 1 are possible)
@stroke:red / @stroke:#cc0000 Creates and colors the stroke around an area
@width:2 Defines the width of the stroke around an area 

These are all the options in the "Annotate" tab of step 3: Visualize. The next and last tab in step 3 is the "Design" tab. Here you can choose your layout, before publishing the chart in step 4: Publish.

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