What’s an Area Chart?

Area Charts are graphs that illustrate data change over time. But unlike Line Charts, they also illustrate volume. The information shown on area charts has two axes and uses data points connected by line segments. The area between the axis and the line is most often emphasized with colors, being each color different for every category.

When to Use Area Charts

Area charts are great to show overall trends, as opposed to individual data values. Use a stacked area chart for multiple data series with part-to-whole relationships or for cumulative series of values. there are three kinds of area charts: Standard Area Charts, which compare quantitative progression over time; Stacked Area Charts which visualize part-to-whole relationships, helping to show how each category contributes to the sum of the total; 100% Stacked Area Charts which illustrate distribution of categories as parts of a whole, where the sum of the categories is not relevant.

Tips for Creating Area Charts

  1. Ensure data isn’t obscured in the background. Order thoughtfully and use transparency.
  2. In Standard Area Charts make sure background data is visible by giving transparency to those superficial categories area colors.
  3. In Stacked Area Charts, use highly variable data on the top of the chart and low variability on its bottom, to facilitate visualization and understanding.
  4. Start Y-Axis Value at 0 to avoid truncating values visualization.


This is particularly true when to large amounts of data need to be presented easily and clearly. For that, these slides facilitate including data in PowerPoint tables that automatically and quickly update and outline complex tables into memorable charts.