What is a Line Chart

A line chart or line graph is essentially a connection between various data points "markers" by line segments. A line graph has two axes: X-axis typically represent time periods and Y-axis has a quantitative value.

line chart types examples

View more examples of line charts.

Infogram is a free online chart maker that offers the most widely used line chart types (line chart, area chart, and multiple axis line chart). Here’s how they differ:

  • Line chart – Used to display events that occur over a continuous interval or time span. Example: Number of visitors per month.

  • Area chart – A type of line charts where the area below the line is filled with a specific color. Example: Sales per year.

  • Multiple axis line chart - A line chart displaying two variables with different units of measurement plotted on two separate Y-axes. Example: Temperature and Rainfall.

When to Use a Line Chart

A line chart is commonly used to show trends over time, often displaying relationships between two variables.

A typical line chart could show the number of visitors to a site or the stock price of a company changing over time.

How to Create a Line Chart

You can make a line chart in 5 easy steps:

  1. Join Infogram to make your own line chart.
  2. Select a line chart type (line, area, multiple axis).
  3. Upload or copy and paste your data.
  4. Customize labels, colors, and fonts.
  5. Download your line chart or embed on your website.

Best Practices for Creating Line Charts

Start the Y-axis at zero - Otherwise your viewer might draw inaccurate conclusions.

  • Clearly label your axes - Make sure the viewer knows what they are comparing.
  • Remove distracting chart elements - Grids, varying colors, and bulky legends can distract the viewer from quickly seeing the overall trend.
  • Avoid comparing more than 5 lines - You don't want your chart to become cluttered or hard to read.
  • Intervals should be in equal in size.
  • Lines should only connect values in adjacent intervals. If data is missing, indicate it is missing.

Have more questions about the appropriate type of chart to use? Check out this article.