Bar Chart Races


Recently bar chart races have become popular on social media. This form of data visualization has animated data bars which lengthen and change order as the values for tracked items accumulate or diminish over time. Tonight, I was able to easily create my own custom animated bar chart using the Flourish online data visualization site. The below chart tracks the number of victories each baseball franchise has won since 1901.

1. Begin by creating an account on the Flourish site here: https://app.flourish.studio/@flourish/bar-chart-race . You can log in with your Google account.

2. Flourish provides an example bar chart. You'll need to upload your data on the second 'data' tab.

3. Set up your data in Excel and save it to a .csv file. In this example the bar chart is showing how the data changes over time. So the the values are listed in columns from left to right, with one column for each year. The total from one column is added to the next column as the data runs from left to right. Each 'bar' for the tracked items is listed on a separate row.

4. You can link to an image to be used at the end of each bar in one of the columns. Note that linking to images saved on Wikipedia will work if you have an address which indicates the image flie can be uploaded. E.g., https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9d/St._Louis_Cardinals_logo.svg

5. After uploading your .csv file, set on the 'Data' tab the columns which have labels, values or images for your chart. Just enter the correct column letters in the online form.

6. There are different options on the 'Preview' tab to change the appearance of the chart. You can specify the color of each bar in the 'Bar colors' menu's 'Color overrides' section. Enter the name for the bar, followed by a colon and color.

7. In the 'Timeline & animation' menu, you can slow down the animation of the bar chart race by setting how long the chart takes to run from the beginning to the end of the time range, and setting how quickly bars change order.

8. The free version of a Flourish account allows you to link to the chart with a URL. If you want to use the chart in an offline PowerPoint, it may be necessary to get a paid account.


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