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A column graph. | Alpha Index to Full Dictionary:

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A pie chart created in a spreadsheet then edited in graphics software.

Jacci Howard Bear Infographic based on informal polls and surveys of About.com Desktop Publishing readers.

Infographic with a large stacked bar graph and a pie chart.

By Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com


A graph is an image that represents data symbolically. A graph is used to present complex information and numerical data in a simple, compact format.

Some types of graphs include:

  • Bar graphs - uses horizontal bars to represent data 
  • Column graphs - uses vertical columns to represent data
  • Line graphs - connects data points with lines
  • Scatter graphs - unconnected points of data
  • Pictographs - bars or columns are replaced with little pictures
  • Pie charts - depict data in a circle with "pie slices" representing data

Bar and column graphs may both be called bar graphs or bar charts.

Graphs of all kinds may be used in desktop publishing projects including annual reports, books, newsletters, and brochures. Usually created in other software (such as spreadsheets), they are typically brought into page layout software as graphic images and treated like any other image, including the use of text wraps and captions.

Pronunciation: [graf]

Also Known As: chart

Examples: A bar graph uses different sizes and colors of bars to represent various bits of data. Even without numbers, it is easy to visually see differences or trends by looking at the size and/or color of the bar on the graph.

Creating and Using Graphs

Terms Related to Graph

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