Sparked by this tweet:

My guideline:

  • Columns to show trends over time. The shape mimics that of a line chart, you don’t need much space for the column labels (usually years, or months)

  • Columns for breakdowns. More horizontal space for complicated labels, and a stacked column is a more natural format than stacked bars.

  • Bars to rank things. The shape mimics a “top 10” top to bottom list, and you can make more space for labels that usually describe things

In this case: bars are better than columns.

Photo by Sophie on Unsplash

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to daily updates about presentation design via email? Just blog posts, no spam, or you can follow Jan on Twitter to never miss a thing.