Dot plots, sometimes called “Lollipop Charts”, are sometimes used to show categorical data in a visually compelling way.

Dot Plot (or Lollipop Plot)

They are often used to show “before” and “after” data or to show how different groups of people react to a binary choice (e.g., voting for the President of the USA).

Dot Plot

(Data visualisation terminology can be confusing. What some people call “dot plots” are also known as “strip charts”. These are also available in QuickChart and are described here.)

The input data for a dot plot is simply a table of values arranged in rows, as shown below:

The dot plots can be horizontal or vertical. This is defined in the Settings dialog box, accessed through the Dot Plot drop-down menu on the ribbon toolbar (see Settings below).

QuickChart allows you to use multiple points within a category, not just the usual two. However, you should remember that more points could make the chart harder to understand.

Horizontal Dot Plot with Three Series

Settings

Dot Plot Settings Dialog Box
  • Vertical / Horizontal – sets the orientation of the dot plot
  • Show lines – Show a line (actually an Excel error bar) between points within the same category – this can make reading the chart easier. Alternatively, you could consider adding gridlines between the categories.