Tutorial: Creating a bar graph
Creating bar graphs or bar plots are useful in visualising data on admission MUAC
and the like.
For this exercise, we will use the dummy data used in the admission MUAC
tool to show a program with high coverage (see Table 1
Example data on admission MUAC of a high coverage program
First step is to enter the data in a spreadsheet. For this exercise, we will use OpenOffice Calc
as our spreadsheet software. Here, we create a table with two columns, the first for the MUAC at admission in millimetres and the second for the number of admissions corresponding to that month (see Figure 1
Example admission MUAC data of a program with high coverage
Next is to initiate the chart wizard by clicking on the chart function on the menu ribbon (see Figure 2
) or by selecting the insert chart option (see Figure 2a
and Figure 2a:
Initiating the chart wizard
Next, in the chart wizard, select the normal column chart type and then click 'Next' (see Figure 3
Select normal column chart type in chart wizard
Now, we select the data range by either entering the cells containing the data we want to graph or by clicking on the select data range button on the right side of the entry field. We can now highlight the cells that contain the data that we want to graph (see Figure 4
). Once selected, click on 'Next'.
<a id="FIG4>Figure 4: Selecting data range.
The next step is to specify other chart elements such as the title, the x- and y-axis labels and the legend. Here we specify the title as "Admission MUAC", x-axis label as "MUAC (mm)" and the y-axis label as "Admissions". We disable the legend because we are only plotting a single data series (see Figure 5
). Click on 'Finish' to create the bar graph.
Specifying the title, x-axis and y-axis labels and legend
Now, the bar graph we just created still needs some adjustments that are specific to the Admission MUAC tool. First, we will notice that the x-axis names are too crowded and not easy to read. This can be adjusted by either re-sizing the width of the graph. However, this approach may not always be ideal particularly if we want to keep the dimensions of the graph. So, the alternative is to change the orientation of the x-axis names. Editing different elements of an existing graph can be done by first double-clicking on the graph that was just created which would initiate the chart wizard again.