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Difference Between Graphs and Charts

Graphs vs Charts

There are many people who have very little interest in mathematical information. The simply cannot digest facts and figures in written form. For such people, graphs and charts are an easy and interesting way to understand information in a pictorial form. In a way, graphs and charts are similar to animation films that make a simple story look very interesting. Whereas one requires math acumen to make out sense from information presented in a normal way in written form, the use of pictures and colors make the information interesting and understandable even for those who detest math. Let us see what these charts and graphs are and what the real differences between the two are.

It is a normal practice to make use of both charts and graphs to represent a series of data as they supplement each other and help in completing the whole picture; they are different from each other. Graphs are mainly used to represent variation in values over time like the movement of a stock market over a period of time. Here, two perpendicular axes are taken intersecting each other with the horizontal axis representing time and the perpendicular axis as a function of the value of the stock market. By just looking at how the line graph dips and rises with relation to time is enough to tell a person how the stock market has behaved over a period of time and he does not need to go through all the information in written form that would be tedious and hard to remember.

Charts are either Venn diagrams or pie charts that are used to give information about the frequency of different quantities in a single pictorial representation. For example, if one wishes to present the information about the budget of a country as to how it is spent under different head, pie chart is a very easy way for it. A circle is taken as representing the entire budget and knowing that it is made up of 360 degrees; different pies are created for different heads and colored differently to make the information more interesting. This way one can know in a glance the percentage of the budget being spent under different categories such as defense, education, health, and so on. Similarly, Venn diagrams are used to display the distribution of 2-3 values in a single population. For example, if there are students in a school, we can represent those studying science, those studying language and those studying both easily through Venn diagrams.

Charts are generally circular and represent 100% of a category. To represent the economic condition of a population, pie chart is most suitable while if one wishes to tell the incidence of a disease over a period of time, line graphs are more suitable. Charts are better suited to display spread of frequency at a point of time whereas graphs make it easy to represent data over a period of time. When only a single set of data is involved, it is charts that help in demonstration.

In brief:

Charts vs Graphs

• Charts and graphs are pictorial representation of data that is otherwise hard to decipher.

• Graphs are better to represent data over a period of time whereas charts are better when only frequency or spread at a given point of time is involved

• Graphs show a series of data in relation with time which is why there are two axes representing time and values.


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