How to Create a Bar Line Chart

What is a bar line chart?

A bar line chart is a data visualization tool that’s exactly what it sounds like – a combination of a bar chart and a line chart. A bar chart is best used to compare categorical data where the height represents a quantity of that category, and a line chart is best used to analyze continuous data usually over a period of time. Combining the two, the bar line chart is useful for looking at a relationship between at least two variables that may have different scales of measurement.

When to use a bar line chart

Using a bar line chart can be helpful to compare values in different categories since the combination gives a clear view of which category is higher or lower. The example below looks at relating a company’s users to the company’s revenue over a period of time. This is a common use of the bar line chart which can be helpful for marketing, product, or sales teams but is certainly not the only use for this type of chart.

To create the bar line chart in this example, we used the tools in Chartio which can be accessed by signing up for a free trial here.

How to create a bar line chart

To start, let’s look at the requirements for making a bar line chart in Chartio:

  1. Data must be three or more columns
  2. The second through the last column must be numeric.

We will be working with the Chartio Demo Source data set available on the Chartio dashboard.

  1. On the Chartio Explore page select Chartio Demo Source as the Data Source.
  2. Expand Payments and drag Amount to the Measures section under the interactive mode on the immediate right. While under Payments, also drag Payment Date to the Dimensions section. You will see it labeled as Day of Payment Date. Note: the dimension maps to the x-axis.
  3. Click on the Day of Payment Date tab and change the Time Bucket to Month of Payment Date. Once selected, click Ok.
  4. Expand Users, and drag User Id to the Measures section below Amount. Note: The last measure listed maps to the line, and all measures listed previously map to the bars.
  5. In the Chart window of the Explore page, click on the Bar Line chart option. Your bar line chart should be displayed. At the top of the Chart window, you can add a chart title and click on the gear icon to change other settings of your chart.

Best practices for a bar line chart

A bar line chart is helpful in understanding the relationship between variables on different scales. With a bar line chart, you’re able to identify trends in your data and possibly any outliers that may exist. You’re also able to compare values against a goal line, or even compare a group of values against an average. Bar line charts can be useful in many ways within a business by being able to provide important insights about their data.


About Bryn Burns

Hi! I'm Bryn Burns. I am a current senior at Virginia Tech pursuing degrees in Statistics and Mathematics. Data science and visualization are two things I'm very passionate about, as well as working with numbers and helping people learn. I'm thrilled to share my knowledge here at The Data School!