Good and Not So Good Ideas of chart design – Auto Skip

December 1, 2014
Design Approaches

Not A Good Idea: Using unusually long bottom axis labels can pose a problem where they overlap each other completely, making the labels unreadable.


The two options that work well with numbers and shorter labels, unfortunately do not work with long text labels. Here’s why: if choosing option 1 to Auto Skip the labels, the text of bars 2, 3, 5 and 6 are missing all together as shown in the image below. In addition, the left side label is cut off. If using Skip Count = 1 it still causes overlapping labels. If using Skip Count = 2, you get the same results as Auto Skip where it only shows 2 labels.


The other option is to Auto Stagger the labels, which in this case staggers the labels 3 levels, making it difficult to read which label belonging to which tic mark. Setting the Stagger levels to anything lower than 3 will cause them to overlap. In addition, the labels on both the left and right side are cut off.


A Good Idea: A better alternative is to rotate the chart layout to allow for very long labels to fit properly. Since the length of the labels now take up the width of the chart, there’s more available space. It’s also easier to read the long labels which would be hard to read at 90 degrees.


Also see related blog post Good and Not So Good Ideas of chart design – Long Labels

See more examples of Bars with Horizontal layout from our Chart Gallery:

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