Area charts are a lot like line charts, with a few subtle differences. They can both show change over time, overall trends, and continuity across a dataset. But while area charts may function the same way as line charts, the space between the line and axis is filled in, indicating volume.

The example below consists of data relating to population growth over time:

Best practice:

  • Avoid obstruction - this happens when one or more layers cover important information on the chart.
  • Use area charts to look at the bigger picture – the population example outlines this, as line charts are good for showing a net change in population over time, while area charts are good for showing the total population over time
  • Avoid comparing too many variables, use a line chart instead as it appears cleaner

Helpful links

Other articles in the ‘Module Types: Charting’ series

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