# Blog

## How to Sort Your Bar Charts

“Ann, my bar chart is upside down! Help!” A largest to smallest sorting should produce a largest to smallest chart, right? Right? Right? But the chart does a somersault! I’ve never figured out why spreadsheets do this but you have two options to fix it.

## Removing Redundancies from My Old Graphs

Data visualizers who critique others before critiquing themselves make me gag, so I opened my recent keynote with a trip down memory lane. Check out this beauty from one of my earliest jobs. I’ve anonymized it but 99.9% of my work from this period had this look and feel, i.e., an overly-labeled graph that I made in Excel and pasted directly into Word without any editing at all.

## How to Rotate Horizontal Bar Charts into Vertical Column Charts (and Vice Versa)

Need to flip your bar chart with horizontal rows into a chart with vertical columns? Don’t delete your chart and start over from scratch. Instead, use this quick trick inside Microsoft Excel to rotate your bar charts.

## When to Use Horizontal Bar Charts vs. Vertical Column Charts

The vertical-column-chart-or-horizontal-bar-chart question is one of the most common questions I receive about bar charts. It depends on what type of variable you’re graphing. If you took a research methods or statistics class back in college, then you might remember learning about terms like nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio variables. Some of these variables are better suited to vertical column charts while other variables are better suited to horizontal bar charts. Let’s look at a few examples.

## Bar Charts: Regular or Stacked?

Chart choosing is part art and part science. During workshops, I cover my chart choosing thought process in more detail. For now, let me save you hours of time with this not-so-secret secret: Start with a bar chart. Then, fine-tine your bar chart.

## The Graph’s Scale: Actual Maximum Value or Potential Maximum Value?

Fine-tune your graphs by discussing this question with your colleagues: should our graph’s axes extend to the dataset’s actual maximum value or to the potential maximum value?