Box plot

Box plot

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Also known as a box-and-whisker chart. This visualization shows the distribution of values in the data according to the upper, median and lower quartiles. Use this to accurately depict data that has skew and outliers.


  • There are many ways in which box plots can reduce non-data ink.
    • Instead of using an actual box and whiskers, place a dot in the middle of the median and use plain lines to show the upper and lower quartiles (see example 2).
    • Another possibility is to use plain lines instead of boxes and whiskers, and offset the quartiles (see example 3).
    • Grid lines should be avoided.
  • Avoid using color. In a typical graph, there is no reason to "color-code" the boxes. As this page demonstrates, category names are adequate.