Graphs vs Charts

Difference Between Graphs and Charts

Normally graphs and charts in excel are very much similar to each other, but they are different, Graphs are mostly a numerical representation of data as it shows the relation of change in numbers that how one number is affecting or changing another, however, charts are the visual representation where categories may or may not be related to each other also how the information is displayed is different in both graphs and charts.

“All Graphs are a type of Charts, but not all Charts are Graphs.” The statement very well sums up the two and clearly outlays which one is broader and which one is a subset of the other.

Display of data in a meaningful and crisp manner with a visual representation of values that allows the intended user to easily understand and analyze the data without getting into the granular details of such data is the prime objective behind the concept of using Graphs and Charts.

What is a Graph?

Graphs mainly focus on raw data and depict the trend overtime-related to such data. A Graph is basically two-dimensional and shows the relationship between the data through a line, curve, etc. using the horizontal line along the bottom (called X-axis) and vertical line up the side (called Y-axis). As per the Advanced English Dictionary, “A Graph is a mathematical diagram that shows the relationship between two or more sets of numbers or measurements.” A Graph allows the user to get an easy representation of the values in the data through a visual representation. An example of a Basic graph is shown below:

basic graph

The above Graph is a Basic Graph that allows the user to get a visual representation that the data plotted on its Y- axes are on an increasing trend, which is shown in years on X-axes. There are two types of graphs – Bar Graphs and Line Graphs.


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What is a Chart?

A Chart is a type of representation of large sets of data, which makes the user understands the same in a better manner, and by using the same helps in the prediction of existing data and forecast future data based on the present data pattern.  A chart can take the form of a diagram or a picture or a graph. Datasets can be transformed into a meaningful display of information using charts.

An example of a simple chart is shown below:

Basic Chart

The above Chart is a simple Column Chart depicting the sales of Ice cream products by a company on different days of the week. By just a glance of the same, the User can identify the highest and lowest sales day of the week.

Charts can simplify data and also categorize the same into easy to understand and analyze formats and find its excessive usage in a business where data is presented using different types of Charts.

There are types of charts – Vertical Bar Charts, Historical Bar Chart, Stacked Bar Charts, Histogram, Pie Chart in excel, Line Chart, and Area Charts in Excel.

The list is not exhaustive, and there are plenty of other popular types of Charts; however, choosing which Chart to use for presenting the data is an onerous task which the user has to decide.

Graphs vs Charts Infographics

Here we provide you with the top 6 difference between Graphs vs Charts


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Key Differences

  • Charts represent a large set of information into graphs, diagrams, or in the form of tables, whereas the Graph shows the mathematical relationship between varied sets of data. As such, a Graph is a type of Chart but not all of it. In fact, a Graph is a type of subgroup of Chart. A Chart, on the contrary, can take the form of a Graph or some other diagram or picture form.
  • Charts can present data of all types into a visually appealing pattern; however, in the case of Graph, it is more ideal to have those data which depicts any type of trend or relationship between the variable plotted on the two axes to make a better insightful understanding to the intended user.
  • Charts are handy to use in cases where the data to be presented well categorized (such as by Region, Age bucket, etc.) or sort of averaged, which will further enable simple display. On the contrary, Graphs are more intended towards identifying trends or patterns in the data sets.

Graphs vs Charts Comparative Table

Basis Graphs Charts
Meaning A Graph is a type of Chart which is used to show the mathematical relationship between varied sets of data by plotting on it’s Horizontal (X-axis) and Vertical (Y-axis). A Chart represents information that can be in the form of a diagram, table, or graph itself, and it comprises various methods for presenting large information.
Subset All Graphs are Charts. It means that no matter which type of Graph one uses to display the data, it will be a type of Chart subset always. All Charts are not Graphs. It means there can be other types of Charts that are not Graphs.
Data Analyzed Graphs can be used for raw data as well and provide a visual representation of trends and changes in the data over a period of time. Ideal for those forms of data which can be easily structured or Categorized into small subsets of simple and easily understandable figures.
Usage Graphs find their usage more in Analysis using both raw data and exact numbers, and as such shows, accurate numerical figures plotted on its axes. Charts find their excess use in business presentations and in showing survey results. Example Pie Charts are the most popular ones used in Business Presentations.
Trend Analysis A Graph is an ideal choice for those data which depicts some sort of trend or relation between variables depicted on the graph. Charts can be used in those cases also where data showed is not depicting any Trend or relationship.
Common Types Line GraphLine GraphLine Graphs/Charts in Excels are visuals to track trends or show changes over a given period & they are pretty helpful for forecasting data. They may include 1 line for a single data set or multiple lines to compare different data sets. read more and Bar Graph. Popular Chart types are Pie Chart, Histogram, Vertical, and Historical Bar Chart.


Charts and Graphs are used frequently in the presentation of data, both raw and exact, and deliver in terms of making it visually appealing and easy to understand for the intended users. It is very common to misunderstand the two due to the very thin line of differences between them. These are powerful visual representation tools to compact large sets of data into small capsules of visually appealing sets of information, which can take the form of different types of charts and graphs.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to the Charts vs Graphs. Here we also discuss the top differences between Charts and Graphs along with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles –

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Reader Interactions


  1. AvatarVivek Reddy says

    Very good in distinguishing between graphs and charts. Excellent. Thank you.

    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks for your kind words!

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