Create and use a column chart

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A column chart is created by displaying a string field on the x-axis and a count, number field, or rate/ratio field on the y-axis. The length of each column represents the value of each category. Column charts can also use a subgroup to create a grouped or stacked column chart so that comparisons can be made between and within categories.

Column charts can answer questions about your data, such as: How are numeric values distributed or summarized by category? How is the data ranked?


An insurance company is reviewing the types of policies it offers to compare its current offerings to the findings from a recently completed market research project. The first step in the review is to determine the total value of policies in each policy class. A column chart can be used to visualize the sum of total insured values (TIV) for each policy class.

Column chart of policy class and TIV

The column chart above provides a sum of the TIV for each category of insurance policy: Disability, Automobile, Life, and Property. When the chart is sorted in ascending order, it's easy to see the highest and lowest values.

The insurance company is especially interested in expanding its business in five cities of interest. The Subgroup field can be used to compare the total insured value for each policy class across cities.

Column chart of policy class and TIV, subgrouped by city

The column chart above shows the distribution of subgroups for each category. The Policy_Class values (Property, Life, Disability, and Automobile) have subgroups that show a different colored column for each city.

Create a column chart

To create a column chart, complete the following steps:

  1. Select one of the following data options:
    • One or two string fields String field
    • One or two string fields String field plus a number Number field or rate/ratio field Rate/ratio field

    If you do not select a number or rate/ratio field, your data will be aggregated and a count will be displayed.

    You can search for fields using the search bar in the data pane.

  2. Create the column chart using the following steps:
    1. Drag the selected fields to a new card.
    2. Hover over the Chart drop zone.
    3. Drop the selected fields on Column Chart.

Drag-N Drop Drag a matching string field from a second dataset onto your column chart to create a combo chart.


You can also create charts using the Chart menu above the data pane or the Visualization type button Visualization type on an existing card. For the Chart menu, only charts that are compatible with your data selection will be enabled. For the Visualization type menu, only compatible visualizations (including maps, charts, or tables) will be displayed.

Usage notes

The Layer options button Legend opens the Layer options pane. You can use the Layer options pane to view the legend, change the chart options, and update the chart style.

The Legend tab Legend is used to view the symbols on the chart. The pop out legend button Pop out legend displays the legend as a separate card on your page. You can use the legend to make selections on the chart when a subgroup is applied. To change the color associated with a value, click the symbol and choose a color from the palette or enter a hex value.

The Symbology tab Symbology is used to change the Symbol type to Unique symbol and to turn labels on or off. The Symbology tab is not available if the chart has a subgroup field specified.

Labels display the number values associated with the chart. The following configurations are available for labels:

  • Decimal places — You can choose a number of decimal places from zero to five, or choose Default or Auto for the labels. Default will abbreviate large numbers, while Auto will choose an appropriate precision.
  • Label alignment — Five alignment options are available for column charts: Horizontal, outside, Horizontal, inside, Vertical, outside, Vertical, inside, and Angled.
  • Context label — Characters, such as a symbol or unit, can be added to the label. The context label can be placed to the left (default) or right of the value.

The Appearance tab Appearance is used to change the symbol color (single symbol only) and change the outline color on the chart.

The value of each column can be symbolized as a count of features in each category on the x-axis, or as a number or rate/ratio field. If a field is used, the column values can be calculated as a sum, minimum, maximum, average, percentile, or median of values from the field for each category.


The median and percentile statistics are not available for certain remote feature layers. If your remote feature layer does not support median or percentile, you can copy the layer to your workbook.

An optional Subgroup field can be selected on the x-axis. The Subgroup field must be a string field and will be used to divide each category on the x-axis into subcategories.


Style related maps with the same field you used as a subgroup on your column chart. When you interact with the chart or map, you'll see simultaneous categorical and spatial patterns.

Use the Chart statistics button Chart statistics to display the mean, median, upper quartile, lower quartile, or a custom value.

Use the Sort button Sort to sort the categorical data in ascending or descending order by numeric variable, alphabetically, or manually. If you choose Sort manually, you can click and drag columns to a new position on the chart. Click Apply to apply the changes, or Cancel to return to the previous order.


Charts on a shared page will use the same default sorting style that was used when the page was shared. Sort manually will be called Predefined and manual sorting will not be available to viewers. Charts that were sorted ascending, descending, or alphabetically when shared will not have a Predefined sorting option.

Use the Visualization type button Visualization type to switch directly between a column chart and other visualizations, such as a summary table, treemap, or donut chart.

Use the Flip card button Flip card to view the back of the card. The Card info tab Card info provides information about the data on the card, the Export image tab Export image allows users to export an image of the card, and the Export data tab Export data allows users to export the data from the card.

When you create a column chart, a result dataset Results with the string and number fields used to create the chart will be added to the data pane. The result dataset can be used to find answers with nonspatial analysis using the Action button Action.