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Re: st: Multiple single-variable stacked bar charts on the one axis

From   David Hoaglin <>
Subject   Re: st: Multiple single-variable stacked bar charts on the one axis
Date   Sun, 7 Apr 2013 08:15:28 -0400


Stacked bar charts are usually an inferior way to display data.  The
book by Naomi Robbins (2005) has an accessible discussion of some
alternatives.  As a summary, it says, "Stacked bar chart: Do not use,
because of their perceptual problems."  Better displays have been
available in the literature on statistical graphics for some time.
See, for example, the book by Cleveland (1985).

David Hoaglin

Cleveland, WS (1985).  The Elements of Graphing Data.  Wadsworth
Advanced Books and Software.  (Revised edition: Hobart Press, 1994)

Robbins, NR (2005).  Creating More Effective Graphs.  Wiley-Interscience.

On Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 5:54 AM, Natalie Herd
<> wrote:
> Hi Statalist!
> I am trying to create a stacked bar chart of 10 categorical variables
> (3 categories per variable) on a single axis (i.e., 10 separate bars,
> with the %s for each of the 3 categories stacked on top of one
> another).
> The variables are fit1_cat thru fit10_cat.
> I have tried the following options:
> 1) I can get a single stacked bar for one variable by using the
> following syntax:
> tab fit1_cat,g(fit1_cat_v2)
> graph hbar fit1_cat_v21-fit1_cat_v23, stack percent l1title(var 1)
> 2) Alternatively, I can also get a single stacked bar using catplot:
> catplot fit1_cat, asyvars stack percent l1title(var 1)
> 3) The final approach I have tried is running the 10 stacked bar
> charts separately and then using grc1leg to combine them:
> grc1leg c1.gph c2.gph c3.gph c4.gph c5.gph c6.gph c7.gph c8.gph c9.gph
> c10.gph, cols(1) imargin(0 0 0 0) ycommon xcommon legendfrom(c2.gph)
> Unfortunately, this last approach squashes the bottom bar due to the
> presence of the y scale (something that I have excluded from all of
> the other bars).  I could just have no y scale, but that would not be
> ideal.
> Is there a better way to achieve this type of chart?
> As an aside, is it possible to change the angle of the bar label
> l1title, so that it runs horizontally rather than vertically?
> Thanks, Natalie
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