How to create a

dot plot.

Dot plots are great to compare ranges of values. They combine the simplicity of a bar chart with the expressiveness of a scatterplot.

What's In For You


What is the dot plot?

What is a dot plot?


When to use it?

When to use a dot plot?


How to create it?

Learn how to create a dot plot with Datawrapper.

What is the dot plot?

Dot plots are a relatively new char type: Pioneered by William Cleveland in the 1990s, their goal is to allow easy comparison of data with multiple values in one line. Showing multiple values inside bar charts is difficult. That's why Datawrapper offers bullet bars and split bars, and now dot plots as well:

How to create a dot plot

Log in to Datawrapper and click on New Chart in the top navigation bar to get started. Copy & paste your data into Datawrapper and click Proceed. You can also use our example dataset here:

[["Name","Branche","Revenue in bn. €","Profit in bn. €"],["Walmart","Einzelhandel","476","16"],["Royal Dutch Shell","Öl und Gas","460","16"],["Sinopec","Öl und Gas","457","9"],["China National Petroleum","Öl und Gas","432","16"],["ExxonMobil","Öl und Gas","408","33"],["BP","Öl und Gas","396","23"],["State Grid","Versorger","333","8"],["Volkswagen","Automobile","262","12"],["Toyota Motor","Automobile","256","18"],["Glencore","Rohstoffhandel","233","-7"],["Total","Öl und Gas","228","11"],["Chevron","Öl und Gas","220","21"],["Samsung Electronics","Technologie","209","27"],["Berkshire Hathaway","Mischkonzern","182","19"],["Apple","Technologie","171","37"]]

In the Chart Type section of step 3 (Visualize), you can select the dot plot as chart type.

Datawrapper will automatically take your dataset and create a dot plot. There are a variety of options to customize your dot plot to your needs, which you can find in the
Refine tab.

You can adjust which columns in your dataset should be used for labeling the dot lines. You can also create grouped dot plots. To find out how grouped charts work, check out this tutorial: Creating a grouped bar chart

One helpful feature is the ability to add custom grid lines. They change the vertical grid lines of your chart to your values. You can use them to highlight particularly interesting values in the dataset, and allow a quick & easy comparison. 

Also, for this example, we've enabled Highlight range between dots, which adds a grey line between the dots to show their difference - in this case, the difference between revenue and profits.

As usual, you can a title and a description in the Annotate tab, and our chart is done:

You can create your first dot plot on Datawrapper today. If there's anything you'd like to let us know, or you have feedback for us, don't hesitate to get in touch: Our twitter handle is @datawrapper.

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