Different Types of Graphs And Charts For Different Fields

Explore the different Types of Graphs and Charts along with the field of study they are commonly used in to select the graph as per your need:

There are some graph types that we are all aware of, like a bar graph, pie chart, line graph, etc. But there are a lot many graphs that are used for different purposes. Data visualization makes your presentation more understandable and appealing.

But it is important to use the right graph for your data. So, how do you pick the perfect graph?

That’s what we are here to tell you. We have collected all the possible types of graphs to help you understand which one is best suited for what purpose.

What Is A Graph

Types of Graphs

Graphs are the organized pictorial representation of data and are created from various data points, representing the relationship between various things. A graph can tell the entire story without even needing the words.

Every shape, point, color, and stroke in a graph gives it a different meaning, helping the viewer understand and interpret the graph. And that’s why choosing every element carefully is extremely vital.

Graphs Vs Charts

Graphs and charts are two words that are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between them. All graphs are charts, but not all charts are graphs.

The mathematical diagram depicting the relationship between different numerical data over a range of time is called a graph. While chart represents datasets for helping users to understand the given information in a better way.

Different Types Of Graphs

Here are different types of graphs and their names along with the field of study they are commonly used in.

For Marketing

#1) Line Graphs


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These are some of the most popular and powerful visual tools for illustrating data trends or a certain correlation over a time period. The values are plotted on the chart and points are connected to display the trends over a time span. There are three types of line graphs- simple, multiple, and compound. They are used for evaluating different data.

#2) Bar Graphs


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Bar graphs are the most simple and straightforward method for comparing various categories. They can be horizontal or vertical where one axis features the categories that are being compared while the other holds the values.

There are four types of bar graphs you will find- horizontal, vertical, stacked, and group. Bar graphs are also one of the most common types of graphs in math.

#3) Pie Charts


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Pie charts are one of the most effective tools for comparing parts of a whole. For example, you can use it to compare the budget allocation for various sectors. You can use them to compare market size, market share, sales promotions and so much more using this chart.

Multi-pie charts are also used to illustrate various data sets together. Multi-level pie charts are yet another variable of pie charts that can present multiple layers of data without needing multiple images. Every tier of this chart represents a separate set of data. It is one of the commonly used types of graphs in statistics.

#4) Mosaic Charts


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Also known as Mekko charts, these are not found commonly because we often use them for representing different complex data. You can use it to compare multiple categories or variables at the same time. These also come in handy if the variables aren’t numeric, like the look, feel, sound, etc.

#5) Population Pyramids


A market is often divided into age and gender. These population trends can be easily depicted by using a population pyramid graph. You can use it to categorize the population in terms of age, gender, income group, IQ, weight, etc.

#6) Spider Charts


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Spider charts are also known as Radar or Star charts and are often used to compare more than two quantitative variables. Every category is represented by radii splaying out like pokes from a center point. The length of these spokes is proportionate to the compared value.

The spokes of each category are connected with a line of set color or pattern, thus creating a shape that looks like a star. And each point of this star is equal to the number of categories. This chart is also used in the field of Science. Three types of radar charts are usually seen- a simple radar chart, charts with markers, and filled radar charts.

For Business And Finance

#1) Stock Charts


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Stock charts are one of the most vital graphs for business and finance, helping investors keep a track of market trends. It helps them in making investment decisions and calculating their profits and losses.

The most common stock chart is a basic line graph turned histogram. You can track multiple stocks and compare them at the same time. Each stock is determined by a line of a different color. But bar charts, point and figure charts, and candlestick charts are also used as stock charts.

#2) Flow Charts


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A flow chart depicts a process sequentially, step by step from start to finish. It makes it easy for the management to document, analyze, manage, and design a process. You can feature multiple beginnings and ends along with countless pathways in between. These are frequently used for illustrating complex sequences with multiple conditions and decisions along the way.

The process flowcharts illustrate how a process works, while the workflow diagram helps you understand the flow of data and documents in an organization. The swimlane flowcharts describe the interaction between different departments, employees, and processes. And to study the data flow in and out of an information system, the data flowchart is used.

#3) Gantt Charts


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Gnatt charts are not commonly heard of, but these are extremely efficient for diagramming projects and schedules. These are special types of bar graphs that use bars of various colors and lengths to depict the start and end dates of a project along with important tasks, events, milestones, timeframes, etc.

You can also use it to illustrate if a task depends on the other tasks in any way. It has a user-friendly design that can help you identify bottlenecks in a project and help you present the project status easily.

#4) Control Charts


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Control charts are generally known as process-behavior charts. They help in determining if a data set lies within an average of a predetermined control range.

These charts are often used in the process of quality control. The points are plotted on two axes, representing the measurements. The average of each point is calculated and a line across the graph is drawn at the mean value for calculating deviations.

#5) Waterfall Charts


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With waterfall charts, you can easily illustrate the positive and negative changes in an initial value due to various factors. That’s why it is an extremely useful tool for accounting and qualitative analysis. The bars in this chart look like they are floating and hence they are also called Mario charts or floating bricks charts sometimes.

#6) Hierarchy Diagrams

Hierarchy Diagrams

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Hierarchy Diagrams look a lot like flow charts but instead of a process, it depicts the flow of hierarchy in an organization along with its structure and the relationship within it.

This diagram is also called an organigram or an organizational chart. It can also be used to represent a data set with similar breakdowns like demographics, pedigrees, scientific classifications, etc.

For Meteorology And Environment

#1) Contour Plots


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With contour plots, you can analyze three variables in a 2D format. The graph plots a third value based on color shading apart from the two axes. The contour map presents the three values: x, y, and z.

#2) Heat Maps

Heat Maps

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You can say that heat maps are a type of contour graph. It maps various temperatures in different geographical areas. The latitude and longitude are depicted on the two axes and the color spectrum represents temperature. Although mostly the heat map is used for charting weather, it can also be used for tracking traffic, finances, and any 3D data.

#3) Scatter-Line Combo


This is a combination of scattering and line graphs and is used to illustrate the relationship between two sets of data.

Say, for example, you can use the scatter graph for high and low temperatures for every day of a month and use a line graph to add the historic average of high and low temperatures for the same period. It will help you study the deviation and change in the temperature trend.

#4) 3D Graphs

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With technological advancements came the facility to display multi-dimensional data in their typical form. They are created using specialized software showing the relationship between three values across three axes.

#5) Histograms


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Histograms are a special type of vertical bar graph representing numeric data along with its frequency distribution across time. Its data can be plotted in chronological order, monetary value, and so on.

For Science

#1) Scattergrams


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Also known as scatter plots, scattergrams are used to show the relationship between several variables. The data set variables are represented by mathematical coordinates displayed at points. Each point represents the value of variables on both axes. You can color code the points to represent additional variables.

There are three types of scattergrams- linear, exponential, and U-shaped., or you can say, positive scattergram where all values increase together, negative scattergram where one value decreases as the other values increases, and null where there is no correlation between the values. It is also used extensively in the field of Engineering and Technology.

#2) Trellis Line Graphs

Trellis Line Graphs

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To compare multiple data sets a Trellis plot is used. It can display all the variables and help you compare them. It features a series of scatter charts, a series of line or bar graphs as well.

Although it is not a commonly used graph, it is an extremely useful and effective one because you can combine multiple line graphs easily in a modular format. This is yet another graph that is used in political science, engineering, and technology as well.

#3) Pareto Charts

Pareto Charts

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A Pareto chart efficiently combines a bar and a line graph to demonstrate the individual and cumulative values of the entire data set. They are designed to specifically highlight the vital factors and data sets. It can be a 2D or a 3D chart.

#4) Spherical Contour Graphs


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Two-axis graphs can’t exactly represent the planetary conditions. They are, after all, spheres and not flat surfaces. Hence, planetary data is plotted on three axes, resulting in a spherical plot. It can study rainfall, vegetation, global temperature, etc. Each value can be represented with a single color.

For History

#1) Timeline


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A timeline is the most self-explanatory data visualization graph. It is used to track data over a period of time by chronologically highlighting significant events and dates. They can either be used alone or with some other visualization tools.

#2) Tree Diagrams


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Tree diagrams are a type of hierarchical diagram. They are illustrations of a family, tracing the lines of its descent. They are of two types. It either starts with an ancestor followed by their descendants, siblings, spouses, children, etc.

And then, there is a pedigree chart that starts with an individual and charts their ancestry. It is also one of the types of graphs in math used for studying probability and other data sets.

#3) Sunburst Charts

Sunburst Charts

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These are like a multilevel pie chart that is used to illustrate hierarchical data with concentric circles. Every ring stands for a level in the hierarchy and the center circle represents the root node. The hierarchy moves outwards. It can also be used to break data into time periods, thus creating a historical hierarchy.

#4) Stacked Area Charts


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Stacked Area Charts are used to illustrate the changes of various variables across time. You can draw multiple lines to diagram the changes and color the areas below each line with a different color to signify different trends.

For Health and Wellness

#1) Multi-Line Graphs

multi line graphs

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Analysis of any data is rarely isolated. You can use lines with various patterns or colors to reflect multiple data sets. For example, you can use multi-line graphs to illustrate the change in life expectancies across age, gender, racial background, etc.

#2) Pictograms


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Images and symbols are used in pictographs to illustrate data sets. For example, clouds can be used to depict rain while the sun can represent a clear day. They are often used widely in various fields to deliver a powerful message. Pictograms are widely used for street signs and are a popular tool for teaching children.

#3) Anatomical Diagrams

Anatomical Diagrams

As the name suggests, Anatomical diagrams are used for illustrating anatomy, usually to explain treatments or diseases to patients. It comes with a complex diagram of contours to focus on vital information, regardless of the amount of data.

For Engineering and Technology

#1) Binary Decision Diagrams

Binary Decision Diagrams

A binary decision means selecting one of two alternatives. Hence, this graph illustrates the way between one decision to another. The binary decision in computer sciences creates a Boolean data type where two different values are accosted within a process flow.

It can be used for all the processes where the action is based on the decision between two values. It is one of the few types of graphs in statistics.

#2) Circuit Diagrams

Circuit Diagrams

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Circuit diagrams visually represent an electrical circuit using simple images and shapes to illustrate its components and circuit connections from beginning to end. However, it doesn’t inevitably represent the corresponding spatial fabrication of a circuit.

These diagrams are used to depict data related to both software and hardware. Apart from literally visualizing the path of a circuit, it is also related to the Binary decision diagram very closely, as they are both used for charting the process flow of programming.

#3) Function Graphs

Function Graphs

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Sometimes engineers, mathematicians, and statisticians graph the result of an equation to determine its value. The function graph is the set of all the coordinates that fulfill the equation. The equation function for X and Y variables is drawn on an X and Y axis graph and a 3D graph with a third axis is added if a third variable is involved.

There are 8 types of functions graph you might come across- linear, quadratic, rational, logarithmic, power, polynomial, exponential, and sinusoidal. Different types of function graphs are used for different functions. This is yet another most common type of graph in math as well.

For Political Science and Sociology

#1) Stacked Bar Graphs


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Studying people means comparing multiple variables all at a time. You might need to examine age, gender, income, racial background, and so many more data sets together. The stacked bar graph is a type of bar graph that combines the traditional bar graph with pie charts to help you communicate the summation of all trends in a single graph.

#2) Venn Diagrams

Venn Diagrams

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Venn diagram is the classic graph format, also known as a logic diagram. You can use it to define all possible relationships between data sets. Overlapping circles represent similarities between the data sets while other parts of the circles stand for differences between them. They range from two to five sets of Venn diagrams.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) What are the 4 graphs called?

Answer: The four most commonly used graphs are column graphs, line graphs, bar graphs, and pie charts are four graphs commonly used for various purposes.

Q #2) What are the different types of line graphs?

Answer: There are three types of line graphs- a simple line graph, multiple line graph, and compound line graph. They are used differently, based on what kind of data is being evaluated.

Q #3) What are the types of bar graphs?

Answer: There are four types of bar graphs- vertical, horizontal, stacked, and group. Vertical and horizontal bar graphs are almost similar, apart from the axis the bars are set on. A stacked bar represents various data sets one upon the other on the same bar while in a group bar graph, all data sets are grouped together, but in different bars.

Q #4) What is a pictogram?

Answer: A Pictogram or pictograph is a graph or chart that uses pictures to represent data simply. This type of graph is extremely popular with teaching, especially among children.

Q #5) What’s the difference between a bar graph and a double bar graph?

Answer: A bar graph displays graphical data using single bars of various heights. On the other hand, a double bar graph uses two bars of various heights beside one another to display the information.

They can be used for the same data sets to replay the same information, but with a visual difference. If there are a few variables, the stacked bar graph is a good option, but if there are a handful of variables, going with a group bar graph will make more sense.


Many types of graphs can be used for various purposes. The trick is to pick the right one that can not only relay the information but also display it clearly, efficiently, and with finesse.

It can be hard to pick one from so many available options. But keep in mind two major things- the kind of data you have and the kind of analysis you want to perform. Keeping this in mind will help you realize which graph type is the best for your data.