How to create your first Datawrapper chart

Hello! This is a very detailed tutorial on how to create and play around with your very first chart in Datawrapper

In this exercise, you will create a stacked bar chart – which is a normal bar chart that comes with different parts in each bar. This is how it looks like: 

On the way, you will also try out other chart types, like a multiple donuts chart, split bars, stacked column chart, and dot plots. 

But first, you'll need to open Datawrapper. To do so, go to in your browser.You should see a website that looks like this:

Now click on the big green Start creating button. You can use Datawapper without being signed in, but you will need to sign up to publish the chart you build. 

Clicking on the Start Creating button will bring you directly into the chart editor. Here, you can see four steps on the top: Upload Data, Check & Describe, Visualize and Publish & Embed. You will walk through these four steps to build your chart.

How to upload data for your chart

Every data visualization needs data, so that’s what Datawrapper asks us to upload first in the Upload Data step. You can simply copy & paste your data in the white text field at the right, or you can upload an Excel file or link to a Google Spreadsheet or another external data set. That’s great if you want live-updating charts, for example, during an election. 

But in this exercise, we'll assume that you're lazy and don’t want to upload data – and instead, take one of the sample datasets that Datawrapper prepared for you. 

To do so, click on Select a sample dataset at the bottom of your page. You’ll get a list of sample datasets. You can play around with the other datasets later. For now, choose the dataset Rural and urban population

Once you select Rural and urban population, you see the dataset in the text field. It looks a bit chaotic right now, but don’t worry, it’ll be tidied up and readable once you go to the next step, Check & Describe

To do so, click on Proceed at the bottom right, or on Check & Describe in the arrow above

Now you see your data in a proper table! Let’s look at the data you just selected:

In the first column, you see categoriescountries and their capital in brackets. (Why are the countries in bold while the capital is not, you wonder? That's something you can achieve with HTML formatting. You can find a guide on that here.)

The following columns contain the share of the population that lives in the capital, in other urban areas, and in rural areas. 

You can see that the columns are differently colored: 

  • The first column is black – that tells us that Datawrapper recognizes this column as a text column. Great! That’s what it is. 
  • The following columns are blue, which means Datawrapper thinks these are columns filled with numbers. That’s also right, so it seems like you're good to go. 

When you’re creating a data visualization, it’s always helpful to know if Datawrapper understands the values you uploaded. Make sure the columns are in the right color before continuing. 

Ok, let’s do that; let’s continue. Click on 3 Visualize to get to the next step:

Finally, a data visualization! The Datawrapper team defined that this data should be shown as stacked bar chart, and already added a title and description. How convenient! (If you upload data yourself, it will always be shown as a line chart.) 

You can see that there are many other chart types available: normal bar charts, line charts, pie charts, and more uncommon ones like dot plots and scatter plots. You will try a few of them later. 

How to refine and style your chart

For now, let’s make your stacked bar chart more readable. To do so, click Refine at the top of the chart types:

This brings you to a page on which you see different settings. Play around with them! You can turn Thicker bars on, for example, or see what happens when you turn on Show values > Visibillity: on hover.

Let's assume you want to change the colors. To do so, click on customize colors right below Appearance. This will open a little list of categories that you can color differently:

Click on a category, then click on the little color rectangle that appears to its right. Then, select a color and then check the little checkmark in the lower right. 

Choose some colors and see if and how they improve the chart. You can, for example, go with the following color combination: A stark red for the first part of the bar ("capitals"), and grays for the second and third part of the bar. This way, you set a clear focus in this chart: Your readers will know what part of the bar to look at first!

Alright, almost done! Let's look at the chart again. Is there anything you still want to change? 

How about the number format? Right now, your chart shows numbers like 56.02 and 38, but you can do better: Let's make sure your readers understand that these are shares by adding a %-Sign. To do so, scroll up and click on the drop-down next to Number format in the Labels section: 

Can we make a recommendation? Try the  0.[0]% number format. This one sounds complicated, but it's actually one of the nicest features of Datawrapper: Besides adding a %-sign, it also only shows a number after the decimal point if that number is bigger than 0. So for example, 56.02 rounds to 56.0 – which doesn't show up in your chart because it's the same as 56%. You can learn more about number formats in this Academy article.

How to change the title & description of your chart

Your chart looks neat, but it needs a proper title. To add one, go to the Annotate tab:

Here you can add a title, description, notes, a data source, byline, and alternative description for screen readers. Almost everything is already filled out. To give the chart a different title, click in the first text field and start typing:

How to try out other chart types

So far, you only changed the settings for stacked bar charts – but Datawrapper has so many more chart types you can use. Let's explore them. To do so, go back to the tab Chart type. There, choose e.g. the chart type Multiple Donuts:

Nice, you've got some donuts! But if you look closer, you'll notice that the chart doesn’t make sense: For each share, it shows the people of which countries live in the capital, in urban areas, and rural areas. That’s not helpful.

Your chart should be the other way around: For each country, it should show the share. 

Datawrapper has a feature inbuilt that can help you with that. It’s called Transpose the data, and you will find it at the bottom of the chart type grid:

When you transpose data, columns become rows and rows become columns.

That’s what happens in the background, but you don’t need to care about it so much. When you look at your chart, it looks great – and that’s what counts. Every time a chart looks odd – like, “the wrong way around” –  try transposing the data with a click on this link down here. 

And like with stacked bar charts, you can refine this chart even further.

To do so, go to the Refine tab at the top again. And again, you'll get a list of options you can change:

The above screenshot shows what changed: 

  • The colors are customized again.
  • The outer radius is slightly bigger and the inner radius is smaller than the default.
  • The color key labels (e.g. "Share of population that lives in the capital") are so long that we recommend you change the position of the color key to "Top".

Done with multiple donuts? You can try out as many chart types as you’d like! Just go back to the Chart type tab and play around. How about you select the chart type Stacked Columns

That seems to work fairly well for your data – indeed, stacked column charts are basically 90 degree rotated stacked bar charts.

But you need to keep in mind how your data visualization will look like on different screen sizes. That’s why Datawrapper offers these three buttons below each chart:

With these buttons, you can check how the chart looks like for mobile readers, tablet readers, and readers on desktop computers. And you can see that for mobile readers, the labels need to get so cozy that they're hard to read. For only a few columns with short labels, (stacked) column charts can be a great choice – in your case, it's not.   

Ok, let's try something else. Here's a curious one – the Dot Plot. (Make sure to transpose the data again to get to this result!)

It’s a great chart type if you want to show high values that are close together – because opposed to bar charts, dot charts don't need to start at zero. 

For a dataset like yours, it doesn't have much advantages, though: The chart shows smaller filled areas (little dots instead of thick, self-confident bars) and might not get as much attention from readers. And the little gray dots all over the chart can be hard to parse.    

Maybe Split Bars are a better fit? 

They make it easier to compare the values of “other urban areas" and "rural areas" which each other; easier than your stacked bar chart. 

But the whole chart looks crammed on mobile phones (try it!). Your bars can be longer in the stacked bar chart.  The stacked bar chart really does seem like a good solution for your data. 

Now that you figured that out, you're ready to publish!  

How to publish your chart

To do so, click on the arrow 4: Publish & Embed. If you're not signed in yet, you'll need to leave your email address if you want to publish your chart. Once you've done that, check your emails: You'll get an email, and you can then create a Datawrapper account by setting a password.

If you have a Datawrapper account, the Publish step will look like this:

You can now see a big button that says Publish chart. As soon as you click that button, you can embed your chart and get a link to share it. Let's do this:

Seems like this was successful – congrats to your first chart! 

How to share your chart

Now you can see some   Share & Embed option. The “Responsive iframe” is great for embedding your chart in an online article – to learn more about Datawrapper's different embedding options, visit this Academy article

If you want to share your chart on social media or just in an email to a coworker, choose the For sharing option. Open the link (, and you will see your chart in a new tab:

Try to hover over the data, and you will notice that the chart is interactive, too.  

And that’s it! Thank you so much for following this tutorial.

Do you have questions about options in a specific chart type? Click on the categories to the left of this Academy article to find out more about pie charts, bar charts, dot plots, etc. 

To find out more about Datawrapper in general,  go to the Datawrapper website. And if you have any questions, we're always happy to help at