# What Type of Graph Best Shows Data That Are Parts of a Whole?

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Larry Thompson

What Type of Graph Best Shows Data That Are Parts of a Whole?

When it comes to presenting data that represents parts of a whole, it is essential to choose the right type of graph. Different types of graphs can effectively illustrate the relationships and proportions between different components. In this article, we will explore some commonly used graphs that are best suited for displaying such data.

## Pie Chart

A pie chart is one of the most well-known and popular choices for representing data that consists of parts of a whole. This graph is circular in shape and divided into slices, with each slice representing a different category or component.

Using a pie chart allows viewers to quickly understand the proportionate size of each category relative to the total. The size of each slice corresponds to the percentage or proportion it represents.

Example:

To better understand how a pie chart works, let’s consider an example. Suppose you want to represent the sales distribution across different regions in a company for a given year.

• North America: 40%
• Europe: 30%
• Asia: 20%
• Africa: 10%

In this case, you would create a pie chart where each region’s percentage determines the size of its corresponding slice. Viewers can easily compare and comprehend the distribution at a glance.

## Bar Chart

A bar chart is another effective way to represent data that consists of parts of a whole. It uses rectangular bars to compare different categories or components based on their values.

A horizontal bar chart can be particularly useful when comparing multiple categories side by side, while a vertical bar chart is ideal for comparing values within a single category.

Let’s consider an example where you want to compare the market share of different smartphone brands in a particular quarter.

• Apple: 40%
• Samsung: 35%
• Huawei: 15%
• Others: 10%

A vertical bar chart would be suitable for this scenario. The height of each bar would represent the market share percentage, allowing viewers to compare the values easily.

## Treemap

A treemap is a more advanced type of graph that can effectively display hierarchical data as parts of a whole. It uses rectangles within rectangles to represent different levels and proportions.

Treemaps are particularly useful when you have multiple categories and subcategories that contribute to an overall total. They allow viewers to grasp the proportionate size of each category and its subcategories at one glance.

To better understand how a treemap works, let’s consider an example where you want to represent the budget allocation within a company across different departments.

• Marketing: \$500,000
• Sales: \$400,000
• Research & Development: \$300,000
• Finance: \$200,000

In this scenario, a treemap would visually represent each department’s budget as a rectangle with its size corresponding to its allocated funds. The larger the rectangle for each department, the higher its budget allocation.

## Conclusion

When it comes to representing data that consists of parts of a whole, choosing the appropriate graph type is crucial. Pie charts, bar charts, and treemaps are some commonly used graphs that can effectively illustrate the relationships and proportions between different components. Consider the nature of your data and its purpose to select the most suitable graph for your presentation.

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