How to create a split bar chart

Split Bars are great when you have related numbers for a range of categories. You could do one chart per category, but that would make it just more difficult to compare. The split bar chart it great to show comparison side-by-side. In this tutorial, you will learn how to create such a chart with Datawrapper.

Different to one regular bar chart, a split bar chart can show more than just one value for a category. Instead of creating five separate bar charts, you can instantly present a multitude of values in one chart.


Preparing and importing the data

If you want to create this chart type, your data needs to be in a certain format. You'll need:

  • One header row containing descriptive labels
  • One column containing categories. This will determine the label in front of each bar. In our case, that's the social network.
  • At least two columns containing numeric values. Each number in your columns determine the length of the bar. You can have as many numeric columns as you like, but they will be hard to read on mobile devices, so consider to aggregate your data into five or six columns. Consider the normal bar chart type if you want to display just one column with data.

That's the data we used to create the chart at the top of the page:

Social Network I don't use it Occasionally A few times a week Once a day A few times a day
Tumblr 66 12 6 4 11
Pinterest 56 18 10 6 10
Google+ 48 21 8 7 16
Twitter 45 13 7 7 28
Instagram 34 8 7 8 43
Facebook 13 14 12 14 47

Source: eMarketer

Once you prepared your data, create a new chart in Datawrapper. You can do so by going to our homepage and clicking on "Create a chart". In Step 1: Upload, copy & paste your dataset, upload it as a .csv or an Excel sheet.  After pasting the data above into Datawrapper, it will look like this: 

Click "Proceed" at the bottom right to go to the next step:


Check & Describe

In the second step, you can check if your dataset was imported correctly and make changes to it - if necessary. If you did not upload a header row, 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.

In step 2, your data looks like this. You can see that Datawrapper correctly recognized your numbers as numbers (and not as text or dates) because they are colored in blue and are right-alined. To learn more about the Datawrapper's automatic recognition of data formats, visit this article.

Click on "Proceed" at the bottom left to go to Step 3: Visualize:



In this step, you see a first chart. It's probably a line chart. We want to change that. To do so, click on the "Bar Chart" symbol at the top left of the available chart types:

You will now see a split bars chart, without a title, descriptions or customized colors. Maybe you want to further refine, annotate & define this chart. We cover this in a separate short tutorial found here.

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