# So Which Graph Should I Choose?

If you are opting to use graphs as a visual tool to communicate a message to the end-user, using the right type of graph is one important cornerstone. Ask yourself: what is the question and what is the graph going to show?

The five most common purposes of using a graph in business life are:

#### 1. Evolution / Deviation

###### Purpose

Evolution and deviation show times series, time patterns, changes over time, and the set of values could be one for evolution or several for deviation.

###### Example

Sales per month for evolution, sales per month compared to budget and last year for deviation as shown in the visual examples below.

###### Best graph types to use

Line graphs, bar graphs, bullets. If you are missing data for a each period, a scatter plot should be used instead of a line graph.

#### 2. Ranking, Comparison

###### Purpose

Here you are sorting and comparing your sets of values by parameters, such as size, or importance, or percentage, etc.

###### Example

An example would be to compare your sales data in different geographical regions.

###### Graph types to use

Bar graphs, slopegraphs, Scatter plots

#### 3. Structure, Composition

###### Purpose

Structure shows the proportions, components, or part-to-whole of a set of data.

###### Example

You want to view the proportion of your sales in different geographical regions, or the sales volume of your top five customers and their size of total sales.

###### Graph types to use

Stacked bar graphs, Pareto graphs

#### 4. Distribution

###### Purpose

Distribution lines up your set of values along an axis.

###### Example

An example is the annual salaries, skill level or age group of your employees by intervals.

###### Graph types to use

Histograms

#### 5. Relationships, correlations

###### Purpose

This type aims to find out patterns or relationships between two or more sets of values.

###### Example

You would like to position your products by size and market growth as in the BCG-matrix.

###### Graph types to use

Scatter plots, positioning graphs

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