How to create a grouped column chart

The grouped column chart presents quantitative values for categories and additional categorical dimensions. This is ideal if you want to give a quick overview of something as you would do with a bar chart or column chart but add more information with the help of additional columns. In essence, you provide more information in one chart, ideally by visualizing a certain pattern.

This tutorial will show you how to prepare your data to create a grouped bar 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 ("Year", "Revenue", etc.)
  • One column with categories.
    These can (but don't need to) be years, like in our cases. Categories can be regions, products, etc.
  • At least one column containing numeric values.
    The values in these columns will define the height of the bars for each category. In each group, there will be as many bars as columns with numeric values. Notice that you can also have negative values. Datawrapper will automatically scale the chart accordingly. 

That's part of the data we used to create the chart at the top of the page. You can find the whole data set in our data samples in step 1: Upload Data.

Year Revenue in mm. € Net Profit in mm. €
2004 647 138
2005 663 162
2006 749 249
2007 882 49
2008 957 184
2009 1059 196
2010 1291 202
2011 1070 36
2012 1166 89
2013 1386 72
2014 2096 141

Source: FIFA

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. 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.

To create the chart in Datawrapper that we want, you need to transpose the data, meaning, you want to switch the horizontal and the vertical axis. To do so, you can click on the top left arrow button in the table, or on "Swap rows and columns (transpose)" below the table. To learn more about transposing, visit our article "Transposing a dataset".

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 "Grouped column chart" symbol in the grid of available chart types:

You will now see a grouped column 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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