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Definition of a Combination Chart

Data visualization is a key element of the digital transformation across all industries, understanding insights better with a greater system of analytics through master data management. There are various chart types that can help decision-makers and investors better understand what’s driving an organization. Among these charts and graphs is a combination chart, which seeks to provide the clearest picture possible regarding certain data series.

What is a combination chart?

The definition of a combination chart is right there in the title. Also known as a combo chart, this compares data across a few different categories over a set timeframe. This usually takes two or three different types of charts and brings them together to show a relationship between data points. Typically, a bar chart and a line chart are used together, possibly with the incorporation of an area chart or dot chart. Combination charts are designed to visually highlight differences in datasets, making it easy to see one set of information presented in relation to other data.

There are a few practices to ensure a combination chart is accurate and easy to understand. The layers are arranged to make all information visible. The bars and lines are adjusted by the volumes of this data, shading certain areas within the combo to make information better for comparisons and understanding. By keeping these combo charts simplified, it makes things that much easier for decision-makers to decipher. Too many lines and stacked bars can make things too complicated, impacting workflow. Proper axis labels also dictate clear patterns and trends to make better business decisions.

What are the types of combination charts?

There are traditionally three different types of combination charts. The most common is the bar and line chart, taking a horizontal bar graph and combining it with a vertical line diagram. This creates a better understanding of the selected field, providing insights and showing patterns. There’s also the column and line combo chart, using vertical bars and a horizontal line to show categorical data while the line shows a trend within a given category. Then, there’s an area, column, and line chart. Area charts are line graphs that create a shaded area. This helps to compare data sets with greater ease and understanding of data hierarchy.

Combination charts also incorporate Pareto analysis through what’s known as the Pareto principle. This is a mathematical technique that is used in decision-making, otherwise known as the 80/20 principle. It’s the principle that 20 percent of the work generates 80 percent of the benefits, helping businesses identify which tasks produce the greatest effects on their performance. Combination charts help to show off the principle in action, such as identifying 20 percent of a sales team that is driving 80 percent of the revenue within a given time period.

When should you use a combo chart?

With different datasets throughout an organization, it’s important to have as much clarity as possible to get deeper insights from a set of values. Combination charts are a flexible way of displaying data and are a useful addition to many reports and presentations. It’s ideal to use a combo chart to display mixed data types, such as price or volume. These charts also emphasize a need to show some kind of relationship between these types of data.

Combo charts take numbers throughout large data sets to address positive and negative values within those sources. By combining a bar or column chart with a line diagram, it’s easier for companies and key decision-makers to identify outliers. Outliers help to find the standouts in a set of data that may ebb against a particular pattern in different durations.

There’s a greater need than ever to communicate data, so practical examples in visualization are needed to clearly deliver the information needed for proper analytics.

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