I blogged here about the Dimensionality of Visible Data and people kept asking me if I have a collection of examples of different charts and comments on each of their Dimensionality and may be a  function(s). Below you can find a collection of 33+ samples (feel free to send me (or point me to) better samples, ordered from up to down by their Dimensionality (as a sum of used in Chart measures, attributes and parameters). This is work in progress and I will add comments (for each Chart) and updates overtime, but I want to publish it so people can see it on one page together.

Gauges actually 0-dimensional, just showing 1 number usually over some appropriate background, like Thermometer or Speedometer (above).

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are similar to Gauges (and 0-dimensional) but visualizing the number in format of digital clock.

Bullets are similar to Gauges to (and 0-dimensional) but visualizing number in format of one Bar on top of other (usually thicker) Bar. Also I suggest to review this blog post.

A Doughnut or Torus (as well as a Pie Chart) can be considered both 1- and/or 2-dimensional: 1 Measure and possibly 1 Attribute. I suggest to “solve” grey area between 1 and 2 dimensions here as following: if Pie/Torus is monochromatic, then it is 1 Dimensional (above), if color is in use then it is 2 dimensional (below).

I consider a Color Pie as a 2-dimensional Chart: 1 Measure (in above example it is %% of Petroleum Imports) and 1 attribute (above it will be a Country with designated individual Color).

Line Chart has 2 Dimensions – 1 measure and 1 Parameter (values of a Parameter are from well-ordered set, like Natural number (Year) above). In other words, Parameter is a well-ordered Attribute.

Bar Chart (as well as Line, Column and Area Charts) has 2 Dimensions – 1 measure and either 1 Parameter or 1 Attribute.

Column Chart has 2 Dimensions: 1 measurement and 1 Attribute. Difference between Column and Bar Charts is just an orientation of Bars/Columns: Axes X and Y are swapped.

Area Chart similar to Line Chart – it is 2-dimensional with 1 measure and with either 1 parameter (above is a Year) or 1 attribute.

Radar (and Polar) Chart basically similar to Line or Area Chart and has at least 2 Dimensions: 1 Measure and 1 Attribute (or Parameter).

Edward Tufte claimed that he invented the Sparkline (however Dave Tufts thinks it was invented 400 years ago by Galileo Galilei) chart. Each Sparkline is a minichart (basically word-sized) stripped from any Axis, so no scales, just trends in very compressed form. Each single Sparkline has 1 (hidden, with no scale, relative to itself only) Measure and 1 (hidden, with no scale) Parameter. Due their small size, multiple Sparklines can be fitted on one screen or page, so it is probable 3-dimensional: 1 (hidden, scale-less) Measure, 1 Attribute and 1 (hidden, scale-less) Parameter.

Funnel Chart can be confusing, but it is a 2-Dimensional Chart with 1 Measure and 1 Attribute.

Multiline Chart is 3-dimensional and usually has 1 Measure, 1 Attribute and 1 Parameter.

Dual Bar Chart has 3 Dimensions: 1 Measure, 1 Attribute and 1 Parameter.

Clustered Bar Chart is 3-Dimensional with 1 Measure and 2 Attributes.

Clustered Column Chart is 3-Dimensional (only diff from Bars is Axis orientation/swap) with 1 Measure and 2 Attributes.

Multi-Measure Radar Chart has 3 Dimensions: 1 Measure, 1 Attribute and 1 Parameter (above example actually has 1 Measure and 2 Attributes and 0 Parameters).

Stacked Area Chart has 1 Measure, 1 Attribute and 1 Parameter, totaling to 3 Dimensions.

3-Dimensional Stacked Bar has 1 Measure and 2 Attributes.

Stacked Line Chart has 1 Measure, 1 Attribute and 1 Parameter, with 3 Dimensions in Total.

Stacked-Column Chart hast 3 Dimensions – 1 Measure, 1 Attribute and 1 more Attribute (or Parameter). Above Chart has 1 Measure and 2 Attributes.

Above is a Combo Chart (combining Stacked-Column and Line Chart) and it has at least3 Dimensions: 1 Measure, 1 Attribute and 1 Parameter. However to me it feels almost as 4-dimensional (because it almost has a 2nd Attribute, which is summarizing Measures for values of 1st Attribute for each given value of Parameter).

Stock Chart above is a Combo of a 2-Dimensional Column Chart (Daily Trading Volume) and a 3-Dimensional Multiline/Stock (derived from Japanese Candlestick Chart invented 265+ years ago by Japanese businessman, Munehisa Homma and adopted 100+ years ago by Charles Dow) Chart (Daily Open-High-Low-Close Prices of Shares of particular stock), sharing a common Parameter – the Trading Date.

Mekko Chart is 3-Dimensional with 1 Measure and 2 Attributes.

Heatmap Chart has 3 Dimensions: 1 Measure and 2 Attributes.

Scatter Chart is 3-Dimensional with 2 Measures and 1 Attribute.

Heatmap Chart, overlayed on top of geographical map has at least 3 Dimensions: 1 measure (above is a BMI, segmented/grouped and visualized by Color) + 1 Attribute (above is a State) + 1 Parameter (Year)

Color Shaped Bubble Chart can have either 4 or 5 Dimensions: 2 or Measures (3rd Measure used for a size of the shape) and 2 attributes.

Color Scatter Chart has 4 Dimensions: 2 Measures and 2 Attributes (above is Country and Continent/Color).

Standard Bubble has 4 Dimensions: 3 Measures and one Attribute.

Colored Bubble is 5-Dimensional: in addition to 3 Measures (X, Y and Size of the Bubble) it has 2 attributes.

Trellis Chart above has 5 Dimensions: 1 measure (Quantity) , 3 attributes (Commute Distance, Sex and Marital Status) and 1 Parameter (Age) and in effect contains 4 inter-related Stacked-Column Charts.

Color Shaped Bubble can have 5 Dimensions: 3 Measures and 2 Attributes.

Motion Chart above has 6 Dimensions (6th Dimension is an animated Parameter, visible in background) and is an Animated Color Shaped Bubble with 3 Measures (X, Y, Size), 2 Attributes (Country, Continent/Color) and 1 Parameter (Year visible in Background will be changed/animated during the Motion). See animated GIF imitating original Rosling’s Demo here:


and here a sample I did myself, using Google’s motion Chart – you can choose what you wish to see for Axis X, Y, Color and Size of Bubbles.

Permalink: https://apandre.wordpress.com/dimensionality/


3 Responses to “Charts and their Dimensionality”

  1. Thanks for this great article! This has given me some inspiration on how to graphically represent numeric data in some reports I’m writing. Kudos on this clear and attractive guide!

  2. Ivo Milanov Says:

    Many of the charts and gauges in this topic are generated by Nevron Chart for .NET.


    Thought you have to know…

  3. Aldo Suter Says:

    Hello, very interesting article, how do yo do the digital KPI indicator?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s