I took a different approach. I used one chart with 3 columns. I used the first and last column for actual data. In the middle column I subtracted the first column data (which was in percentage terms) from “1? so that when I added the 1st and 2nd column together it would always sum to “1? – you’ll see why in a moment. Let’s call the 3 columns A, B (the summed column), and C.

Next, I set up a stacked bar chart with the 3 columns. The first part of the bar had the first data set (A), the 2nd had the column of sums (B) and the 3rd had the second data set (C). The middle cells (B) forced the bars for the 2nd data (C) set to line up correctly.

Finally, I made the color for the middle column (B) white and deleted the title for that column, effectively making it invisible.

By now, you’ve figured out why I had the X axis problem (it runs from 0 – 250%). My solution, which I couldn’t implement correctly in the time that I had to work on this, was to have 2 axes. I wanted both to run from 1 to 100%, but this forced an overlap that I couldn’t fix. As I thought about it, the problem is that I would need a 3rd axis for the filler column (B) so I don’t know that I would be able to make this work at all.

[…] from Ann: Last week I shared a dataviz how-to guide. Paul Denninger has a great alternative solution to share! He uses hidden bars, also known in the […]

[…] reduce cluttering, delete the second chart’s axis labels and use the business card trick to make sure each chart’s plot area is the same width and […]

Paul

Jun 12, 2013 -

I took a different approach. I used one chart with 3 columns. I used the first and last column for actual data. In the middle column I subtracted the first column data (which was in percentage terms) from “1? so that when I added the 1st and 2nd column together it would always sum to “1? – you’ll see why in a moment. Let’s call the 3 columns A, B (the summed column), and C.

Next, I set up a stacked bar chart with the 3 columns. The first part of the bar had the first data set (A), the 2nd had the column of sums (B) and the 3rd had the second data set (C). The middle cells (B) forced the bars for the 2nd data (C) set to line up correctly.

Finally, I made the color for the middle column (B) white and deleted the title for that column, effectively making it invisible.

By now, you’ve figured out why I had the X axis problem (it runs from 0 – 250%). My solution, which I couldn’t implement correctly in the time that I had to work on this, was to have 2 axes. I wanted both to run from 1 to 100%, but this forced an overlap that I couldn’t fix. As I thought about it, the problem is that I would need a 3rd axis for the filler column (B) so I don’t know that I would be able to make this work at all.

I hope this explanation was easy to follow.

Thanks, this was a fun exercise.

Elisa Avila

Jun 14, 2013 -

Thanks for putting up the “solution” I’ve been pondering how you did it since the last post. (Not what I expected! It’s so simple!)

Dataviz Challenge #3: Alternate Solution by Paul Denninger | Emery Evaluation

Jun 19, 2013 -

[…] from Ann: Last week I shared a dataviz how-to guide. Paul Denninger has a great alternative solution to share! He uses hidden bars, also known in the […]

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[…] Dataviz Challenge #3: The Answers! (emeryevaluation.com) […]

Dataviz Challenge #4: The Answers! | Emery Evaluation

Jul 27, 2013 -

[…] reduce cluttering, delete the second chart’s axis labels and use the business card trick to make sure each chart’s plot area is the same width and […]

Ann's Blog | Dataviz Challenge #4: Can You Make a Small Multiples Bar Chart?

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[…] the third dataviz challenge, we started talking about making several comparisons at once. For example, when the Innovation […]

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[…] Want to make your own side-by-side bar chart? I’ve got a tutorial. […]

J Jackman

Jun 24, 2015 -

Instead of external sizing, have your charts “snap to grid” and then simply make sure that the grid behind the charts are the same.