Customizing your split bar chart

After  uploading data and selecting the chart type split bar chart, you can further enhance the appearance. The goal is to make use of specific features available in Datawrapper to make this split bar chart even better. Let us show you how to make a beautiful chart in three simple steps.

We will go through three tabs in step 3: Visualize to change the appearance of ou chart: "Refine", "Annotate" & "Design". (In the "Refine" and "Annotate" tab, you can resize the chart, to make it wider or taller. To do so, click, hold, and drag the arrow in the lower right corner to scale the chart window.)



In the first tab in step 3: Visualize, we can see five panels: "Customize axes", "Sorting", "Labeling", "Appearance" & "Data range". We will explain the settings in all of them: 

Customize axes

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 "Social Network" as our labels.
  • Groups: You can upload an extra column to put categories into extra groups. In our case, we could have a column that states for each social network if it's been around "before 2010" or "after 2010". If we chose that column as our "Groups", the chart would make a separation between the bars showing the "old" social networks and the younger ones.

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


In this panel, we have just one decision to make:  How should the bars and their labels be sorted? You can keep the order of your spreadsheet with unchecking "Resort bars". Or you can sort by a column, e.g. "I don't use it." If you do so, the biggest value will be at the top of the chart. To have it at the bottom of the chart, choose "ascending". 

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


In the next panel, we can decide if we want to hide the values on our bars and if we want to align the bar labels to the left or the right. 

The most interesting setting here is the Number format. With it, we can decide how our values are shown (if we chose to display them). Here are three examples:

  • Choose the number format "123.4k" if you have big numbers like "1,303,428" that you'd rather want to display as "1.3m"
  • Choose the number format "0.0" if you have very detailed numbers like "0.1922302" that you'd rather want to display as "0.2"
  • Choos the number format "0%" or "0.0%" if you have a number that is a relative number, like in our case. This setting will add a percentage sign. 

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


In the fourth panel in the tab "Refine", we can decide the design of our bar chart: We can choose bar colors and decide if we want to separate rows with a line, make our bars thicker or give each bar a grey background.

Let's focus on how to choose colors for our bars. We can choose one color and its shades for all our bars (click on "Base color" to change the default color). When we click on "customize colors...", we can choose individual colors for each bar. In our chart, we can give a higher usage of a social network a darker color:

In this panel, we can also decide if our rows should be separated with a dotted line, if the bars should be thicker, if there should be a grey background for each bar and if we want to increase or decrease the space between the columns. A cluttered chart can be cleaned up with these settings. We'll choose all of them for our chart: 

Data range

BIn our last panel, you can find two more options. First, "Custom range". Here you can decide which value range your x axis should cover. By default, the y-axis for each column will be as long as your biggest bar. But if our chart shows percentages close to 100%, it makes sense to extend the chart to 100%. Readers will then be able to see how much turnout is "missing" to achieve the ideal 100%. So we can write in a "100" in the "max"-field:

If we have tiny values in certain columns and huge ones in others, we can also check the option "Use independent scales for each column." Note that this will make it harder for our readers to compare the values across the columns with each other, and that it can lead to misread information. We will leave this option turned off for our chart.

These are all the options you can find in the Refine tab. Let's move on to the Annotate tab. Here you'll find two options: "Describe chart" and "Labeling".



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 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

Highlight elements

In the 2nd panel in the "Annotate" tab, we can choose to highlight elements: The label in front of these bars will appear in bold. We can revert the highlight by clicking on the x in front of the label:

Afer explaining the Annotate options, there's only one tab left: Design. 



In this last step, we can select a preset layout and enable social sharing functions to spread your work. 

  • Users of the free plan or Single users have two options: One layout with and one without the "Get the data" link
  • Users of every other plan are able to select a custom layout here 



After we worked through the four tabs of step 3: Visualize, we can now proceed to step 4: Publish & Embed. Here we can select a preset layout and enable social sharing functions to spread your work. Click on "Publish" and you'll be directed to the "Publish & Embed" page.

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 " Embed chart on website". Then, copy & paste the embed code snippet into your website or CMS. You can also download your chart as a PNG or PDF by upgrading to a paid Single or Team account. Click here for more information on the different pricing plans of Datawrapper.

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