Why Graph Text Should Be Horizontal

Stephanie Evergreen explains why you don’t want diagonal or vertical text in your charts:

In languages based on the Latin alphabet, we read horizontally, from left to right. Reading on a diagonal produces cramped necks. Reading vertical text is just not going to happen. So, as much as possible, the text in our graphs should be horizontal.

Let’s walk through a demo. I was trying to combat my sense of hopelessness about the world by exploring the latest dataviz related to the Sustainable Development Goals (don’t we all?). The vast majority of their viz is pretty awesome, especially given how complicated the data can be. I saw this graph about how few developing countries have representation on international development councils.

Watch as Stephanie starts with a column chart with diagonal (and cut-off) text and converts it to a visual which is much easier to read.

Related Posts

Interactive ggplot Plots with plotly

Laura Ellis takes us through ggplotly: As someone very interested in storytelling, ggplot2 is easily my data visualization tool of choice. It is like the Swiss army knife for data visualization. One of my favorite features is the ability to pack a graph chock-full of dimensions. This ability is incredibly handy during the data exploration […]

Read More

Custom ggplot2 Fonts

Daniel Oehm shares two techniques for using custom fonts in your ggplot2 visuals: ggplot – You can spot one from a mile away, which is great! And when you do it’s a silent fist bump. But sometimes you want more than the standard theme. Fonts can breathe new life into your plots, helping to match […]

Read More


September 2018
« Aug Oct »