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How can Graphs/charts help you in business? They say a picture tells a thousand words. But what about a graph or chart?

Instead of several paragraphs a good graph or chart can show just as much.   The thing is to know which style of graph is the one to use.

Even though there are a number of graphs, these are four types of graphs generally used, that we will take a look at:


A bar graph will show independent numbers.  This is ideal if you want to, say start a restaurant business and would like to know what the share of clientele is between different food vendors.



Ideally suited if you want to indicate exactly what percentage of your budget has been spent on different items.  A pie chart, called thus, as it looks like a pie, will be cut up in segments.  This is to show how a whole break down into parts.


This graph will show how the numbers changed. Data must be connected to show the trends.   It is used to display, for instance, temperatures of each month of a year or the fluctuation in a monetary system.  Line graphs are usually used to show dependent data, and particularly trends over time.


Mathematicians, when talking about graphs, mean cartesian graphs.  It is used to compare two sets of numbers, plotted on both the axes.  It can be written as Cartesian coordinates, (x,y), where x is the number on the x-axis, and y the number from the y-axis.


Graphs have two axes.  These are the lines that run across the bottom (horizontal or x-axis) and up the side of the graph (vertical or y-axis).The x-axis may contain categories or numbers. You read it from the bottom left of the graph.

The y-axis contains numbers, starting at the bottom left of the graph, generally, but not always, starting at 0 and move upwards.    Should the y-axis not start at 0, data shown cannot be correct.


Although somewhat limited in the type of graphs that can be drawn various computer software packages are available to draw graphs, including Word and Excel.   To be able to recognise the result as correct, you need a basic understanding of graphs and charts.   Keep charts and graphs plain and simple – it is easier to understand.

Being able to draw graphs or charts and being able to read and understand them brings meaning to the saying: A Picture is worth a thousand words.