Skip main navigation

Line Plots and Scatter Plots

Line plots and scatter plots allow for graphing of two variables at once. Adrian explains their use and interpretation here.

We now have our last two plots. Line plots are valuable tools for visualising how a variable changes across time and is one of the most common plots you will see.

We often care not just about the current state of a variable, such as profit or sales, but also about how it has evolved. Has there been high growth? Is it stable? These are examples of questions which line plots help us to answer.

Scatter plots are similar in that they visualise two variables at once that might be related to one another. They are a useful exploratory tool to assess whether there might be relationships between variables. For example, when I spend more on advertising do I see higher sales?

Hopefully you are comfortable with the ideas behind these and the other graphical techniques now. If not, feel free to double back and watch a topic video again or ask your fellow learners any questions you have in the comments below.

Once you’re ready, in the next step we’ll take it one step further and talk about what makes a “good” graph.

This article is from the free online

Data Analytics for Decision Making: An Introduction to Using Excel

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now