Range plot resource page | Datylon

Range plot

An example of a range plot designed with Datylon for Illustrator, a chart maker plugin for Adobe Illustrator

A range plot is based on two data points for each category and a bar or a line in between two data points which presents the difference between those values. Sometimes color and icons can be used to indicate the direction of such change (or a movement of the values).

A range plot is the easiest and most convenient way of presenting the minimum and maximum value of the category and the space between. Its simplicity makes it easy to understand and useful for presenting data to a wide audience.

Range plots are mostly used to depict gaps between paired values (demographic gap, gender pay gap) or simply the difference between the smallest and the biggest values from a set of multiple values.

Start making your own range plot with Datylon

Variations of a range plot

The charts below are variations of a range plot. To learn how to make them with Datylon, check out the range plot user documentation in the Datylon Help Center.
Datylon chart library: use a dumbbell as a variation of a range chart
Datylon chart library: use a dumbbell as a variation of a range chart

Dumbbell chart

A dumbbell chart is a range plot with a line and two circles on both sides and looks like – you guessed it – a dumbbell. Instead of one of the circles, an arrow can be used to show the direction of the change in the range.

Datylon chart library: use a waterfall chart as a variation of a range chart
Datylon chart library: use a waterfall chart as a variation of a range chart

Waterfall chart

A waterfall chart shows positive and negative values of change between two points, which helps in understanding the cumulative effect of these changes as well as unfolds the details. It is used to visualize accounting data for a single time period, but can also be used to show changes over time.

Datylon chart library: use a gantt chart as a variation of a range chart
Datylon chart library: use a gantt chart as a variation of a range chart

Gantt chart

This chart visualizes the start and end time in form of period blocks. It is a graph that typically shows activities or tasks performed against time: a project plan over time. Used in project management, it helps in tracking project progress, schedule, and changes. It can be also used to illustrate seasonal occurrences, such as the availability of different fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

Alternatives to a range plot

Substitute your range plot with the charts below when you want an expanded data view or an alternative representation of the range.
Datylon chart library: use a dot plot as an alternative for a range chart
Datylon chart library: use a dot plot as an alternative for a range chart

Dot plot

While a range plot is used for showing two data points using a line or a stripe, a dot plot can be used to show multiple points highlighting every category with color. It can be useful if there are several key points within the data range to which attention should be drawn.

Datylon chart library: use a box chart as an alternative for a range chart
Datylon chart library: use a box chart as an alternative for a range chart

Box chart

Sometimes the range of values should be shown using not only min and max values but also median, 25th percentile, and 75th percentile. In this case, a box chart is a perfect option. It’s often used in statistical analysis and scientific papers, that’s why it’s well known and recognizable by the community.

Datylon chart library: use a slope chart as an alternative for a range chart
Datylon chart library: use a slope chart as an alternative for a range chart

Slope chart

Just like a range plot, a slope chart needs two points, but they are shown in a slightly different way. One line is used for placing start-points and the other is for the end-point. The angle corresponds to the degree of change. Space-wise it’s an economical chart, but the crossings of lines can cause confusion if too many lines are used.

Pro tips for designing a range plot

Learn how to improve the readability and visual appeal of your range plot.
In most cases, start- and end-point values are essential for the range plot because they are the focal points of the chart, so they should be added as labels. The exception is when the number of ranges is extensive and ranges are treated as a representation of trends. In this case, axes’ labels and gridlines will be a better choice.

Labeling

In most cases, start- and end-point values are essential for the range plot because they are the focal points of the chart, so they should be accompanied as labels. The exception is when the number of ranges is extensive and ranges are treated as a representation of trends. In this case, axes’ labels and gridlines will be a better choice.

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Color coding is essential for a range plot if you want to show the direction of the changes. The simplest and more efficient way to color the directions is to bind blue color to the positive direction and red to the negative direction.

Coloring

Color coding is essential for a range plot if you want to show the direction of the changes. The simplest and more efficient way to color the directions is to bind blue color to the positive direction and red to the negative direction.

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Another way of showing the direction of changes is by adding an arrow. A combination of color and arrow icons makes a perfect combination for users with different degrees of color perception.

Indicating the direction with icons

Another way of showing the direction of changes is by adding an arrow. A combination of color and arrow icons makes a perfect combination for users with different degrees of color perception.

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To draw attention to the most important categories of the range chart, a good solution is to highlight these ranges and color all the other bars the same way in a neutral color. This way, highlighting a specific bar will help catch the reader’s eye immediately.

Highlighting

To draw attention to the most important categories of the range chart, a good solution is to highlight these ranges and color all the other bars the same way in a neutral color. This way, highlighting a specific bar will help catch the reader’s eye immediately.

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Sorting can be a useful tool for presenting disordered data. You can sort the categories in the data. Either based on the highest value, the lowest value, or the range length. Using ascending or descending sorting puts the range in order and helps the user to read the chart. It also reduces the time needed to compare the differences between different ranges.

Sorting

Sorting can be a useful tool for presenting disordered data. You can sort the categories in the data. Either based on the highest value, the lowest value, or the range length. Using ascending or descending sorting puts the range in order and helps the user to read the chart. It also reduces the time needed to compare the differences between different ranges.

Make your own range plot

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Range plot inspiration

Scroll and click on the images below to find inspiration samples of range plots. With your Datylon account, you can use these designs, customize them and update them with new data.