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What Does Bar Chart Mean?

You can use charts to display the information in a frequency table. The chart you’re going to learn now, is called a bar chart.

A bar chart presents the same information as the frequency table, but it looks different. It can give a better picture of the information you have sorted. Below you see the information in a frequency table used to sort clothing, produced using a bar chart:

Frequency table and corresponding bar chart

In the bar chart you see that there are three bars. Each of these bars is called a pillar.

Under the first column it’s written “sweater”. This means that this bar shows how many sweaters you have. The top of this bar is on the same line as the number 10. This means that you have 10 sweaters.

If you look at the pillar in the middle, you’ll find “pants”. This means that this bar shows how many pants you have. The top of this bar is on the same line as the number 8. This means that you have 8 pants.

So it pays off to use a bar chart when you have few options. You have now learned to sort information from a frequency table into a bar chart.

Think About This

John and his siblings make an overview of how many popsicles they ate today. They put this overview in a frequency table:




Name Tally marks Quantity



John |||||| 7



Lucy ||||||| 8



Matt ||| 3



You see that John had seven popsicles, Lucy had eight popsicles, and Matt had three popsicles. You want to display the results in a bar chart. How can you do that?

The bar chart will look like this:

Bar chart of popsicles eaten per person

Bar charts can also go below the x-axis.

It’s also possible to have a bar chart with negative numbers. Here you see a table showing the temperatures at 12 o’clock for four days in Oslo.

Table with both positive and negative temperature values for different week days

What is different in this table, is that you have negative numbers, since you are dealing with negative degrees. In the bar charts you have seen before, you used columns that just went up. Now that you have negative numbers, you also need to use columns that go downwards.

The bar graph showing the information in the table, will look as follows:

Bar char with positive and negative values for temperatures

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What Does Pie Chart Mean?