How to create a bar chart

The bar chart is probably the most all-rounded chart type out there. It's easy to create and easy to read. In this tutorial, you will learn how to prepare and upload your dataset to create a bar chart with Datawrapper. Like all our charts, our bar charts are fully responsive. Along with the line chart, it is our most often used chart type.


Preparing and importing the data

If you want to try 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.
  • One column containing numeric values. Each number determine the length of the bar. You can have as many numeric columns as you like, but you will only be able to display one of them as bars. Consider the Split Bars chart type if you want to display two columns of data.

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

Country Turnout
Romania (2016) 39.8
Kosovo (2017) 40.0
Slovenia (2017) 43.6
United Kingdom (2017) 68.7
Germany (2017) 76.2
Belgium (2014) 88.5
Luxembourg (2013) 91.4
Malta (2017) 92.1

Source: Parties & Elections

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 "P roceed" 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. 

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 basic bar chart, without a title, descriptions or different 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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