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All About Line Graphs

Mike Cisneros takes us through one of the most useful visuals out there:

A typical line graph will have continuous data along both the vertical (y-axis) and horizontal (x-axis) dimensions. The y-axis usually shows the value of whatever variable we are measuring; the x-axis is most often used to show when we measured it, either chronologically or based on some independent variable (e.g., as we rev our old car’s engine, we measure the decibel level at different RPM). 

While some line graphs do not use continuous data on the x-axis (particularly slopegraphs and parallel coordinates diagrams, which are specialized variants of line graphs), what we absolutely can’t use on our x-axis is data that doesn’t have any meaningful relationship among the categories shown. 

Read on for a lot of good information on a workhorse visual.