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Data and Business Intelligence Glossary Terms

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Histogram

What is a histogram?

A histogram is a chart that displays continuous data using vertical bars that each represent a discrete, equal-sized range. These ranges are called bins.

While bar charts are used to visualize categorical information (like product categories), histograms display information along a spectrum, separated into binned ranges. If your data is numerical — say, price or quantity — consider opting for a histogram.

Example histogram

You could use a histogram to visualize a count of orders broken down by subtotal, like so:

<em>Fig. 1</em>. A histogram showing the distribution of order subtotals.
Fig. 1. A histogram showing the distribution of order subtotals.

Histograms will only show a thin sliver of white space between each of the bins to indicate that the bars represent bins across a range of continuous values.

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