We live in a world full of big data.

Data is everywhere, from the weather forecast to the USA’s election, social media posts to crafting marketing campaigns, medical research, and predicting the FIFA World Cup result.

……..& it is changing the way we live, work, and interact with each other.

Love em’ or hate em,’ data is an increasingly connected world where information flows between the organizations we deal with daily and us.

And the first problem- Handling Bulk data.

To solve this, we use visualization to combine all the pieces of complex data and see the bigger picture. Tables, Charts, and graphs are some of the most popular visualization tools to bring boring data to life.

Choosing the right visualization is super important for communicating.

But how do you know Table vs Charts-which one is the appropriate tool for you? We’ll talk about this today- What is the purpose of a table or chart? how to pick the right visualization tool and communicate with your audience like a marketer.

What is Table?


Well, in technical terms- A table is a collection of data organized in rows and columns. This is probably the most popular data visualization tool out there.

Need to compare multiple items? 

Tables let you see all the information side by side. You can spot similarities and differences easily. 

Want to see the exact numerical values? Tables display data precisely and clearly, so you can see the exact numbers you’re working with.

And most importantly- it’s so easy to make a table.

It is used widely too store, sort, and present information in a structured format. Each row represents a separate record, while each column represents a separate data attribute. It’s like having a bunch of file folders, all labeled and organized by category.

What is Chart?


In simple words- a graphical representation of data. 

This tool is used to understand patterns, relationships, and trends. Charts are handy for summarizing and displaying information in a way that is easy to understand. 

There are bunches of charts people use for data analysis and presenting bulk data. Each chart is designed to display specific types of data.

So, how to show the relationship between different variables?

In the chart, Data are shown on a horizontal (x) axis or a vertical (y) axis. Some of the popular charts used in data analysis are-

  • Line charts: For showing trends or changes in data over time.
  • Bar charts: Used to compare different categories of data.
  • Pie charts: Known for displaying proportions of a whole.
  • Flow charts: Use standardized symbols to represent different types of actions or decision points.
  • Scatter plots: Great for expressing co-relationships between two variables.
  • Heat maps: used to show patterns or density of data.

Table vs Chart- What is the Difference Between Charts and Tables?

Both are great visualization tools- without any doubt.

But Charts are best when you want to show patterns or trends in your data. On the other hand, tables are more appropriate when you need to display precise numerical values or compare data across multiple categories.

Data displayDisplays data in rows and columnData visualization using symbols
PurposeFor Showing precise numerical valuesUsed to show patterns, trends, or relationships in data
Data volumeGreat for large amounts of dataCharts are usually applied for showing smaller amounts of data or highlighting specific points
ComparisonsBest for comparing values across multiple categoriesBest for showing changes or shifts in data over time
PrecisionProvides precise numerical valuesMay not always provide the same level of precision as tables in visual terms
ReadabilityAnyone can understand, Easy to read May be harder to read or understand if not designed carefully
InteractivityCan be sorted, filtered, or searchedCan be interactive, allowing users to hover, click, or zoom in on data
AccessibilityAccessible to users with visual impairments or other disabilitiesMaybe less accessible to some users, depending on the type of chart and how it is designed

When Should We Use a Table Instead of a Chart?

That’s a great question.

Communication will be a mess if you don’t choose the right visualization tool. Let us explain with an example…… 

Suppose you have to display a financial report of the quarterly revenues of a company across multiple divisions and regions. Tell us which visualization tool you will pick to show the data.
A table, right?

Yes, in this case, tables are appropriate to compare the revenue figures across different categories and can be easily sorted based on specific variables, such as region or division.

Imagine this in a chart! Will it fulfill your need? 

Hell NO. 

It will make things way more complicated. Here are some situations where tables may be a good choice for visualizing data:

When to Use a Table?

  • Presenting large amounts of numerical data that need to be easily searchable or sortable.
  • Comparing data across multiple categories or variables.
  • When the exact numerical values are important.

When to Use a Chart?

  • Showing patterns, trends, or relationships in data.
  • Changes or shifts in data over time.
  • Complex information in a visually appealing way.