What is a Dot Plot and how does it work?

The definition of Dot plots, also known as strip plots and dot charts, are simplified histograms used in statistics to analyze small data set. It shows values falling into discrete categories. A dot plot is like a bar graph, as the “bars” of dots are equal in height and number of items within each category. Before you can create a stack of dots with high bins, you will need to count how many data points fall within each bin. You can easily create a dot plot in Excel.

Data can be encoded using dots or small circles with a dot plot. A number line shows the distribution of numerical variables values, where each dot represents a value.

This is the first graph referred to as a “traditional dots plot” (or simply “dot charts” above). The definition of this dot plot graph has existed since the dawn of time. These graphs show how data is distributed. These graphs can be useful if you want to visually represent your data to spot outliers and get a sense of the shape. Like a histogram which shows data distributions in bars, but not as dots, this is similar. This dot plot represents a single data point. They don’t need to be equally spaced along the horizontal lines. These plots are best for small data sets. If you have larger data sets, however, a histogram or box plot or box plot might be more suitable.

William S. Cleveland’s definition of dot plot is the most popular one I see in business settings today. The Cleveland dot chart is sometimes simply called that. This graph encodes quantitative data across categories. This graph can be considered an alternative to the bar charts.

You don’t have to do the complete process to create a dots-plot. You can start by moving to it using something familiar.

The connected dots plot is another common variant. The connected dots plot functions in the same way as the Cleveland dot chart, but it graphs multiple data series. Let’s continue with the example but add another data serie.

Can be considered an alternative to bar charts.

How to Create a Dot Plot?

You might be wondering, “How do I make one?”. Some tools are great for creating them. Sometimes, even if the tool does not have this functionality, it can still be created with a little imagination.

Excel can be used to create a Cleveland dots plot. You have the option to display your data in horizontal or vertical orientation. To create your categories, simply input the values for each other. As an example, in the horizontal Cleveland style that I described in my explanation, the scatterplot’s x-values are mine data values. The y-values are 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. These numbers are used to space the categories. Vertical orientation can also be achieved with a line graph. Data markers can be added to your dots to make the line between them invisible.

It’s not easy to create the connected dots graph using a tool without built-in functionality. It is possible. It will often be a combination of line graphs and scatterplots to connect dots. The connection is made using a stacked bar chart. This step-by-step guide will help you create a connected dots plot in Excel.

Although there are many ways you can make one, the easiest way to start is to draw it by yourself.

Step 1 Select a scale to put it up.

We will establish a horizontal scale. All values must be enclosed. The smallest value in this data set is 0. 9. The title will be given by the number line number books.

Step 2: Plot the dots.

Fill in the dots using your scale. Each value is assigned an integer and the dots are stacked. Let’s only plot the first row. This will allow us to verify it. Each value is represented as a dot on the plot. Once we have all the details, we can proceed with the operation. Although you may not be able do it perfectly by hand you can ensure that the dots match up. You shouldn’t have wide gaps between the dots that make one value seem more dominant than another.

That’s all! They are easy to make and understand, making them great for data representation, especially when using excel dot plots.

The pros and cons of Dot Plots

They are much lighter than a common bar chart. They use less ink. Additional freedom is offered by the connected and Cleveland dots plots. The axis does not have to start at zero. Instead, it can begin at any point.

However, dot plots aren’t as common as bars. This can be a good thing in certain cases. People unfamiliar with the situation may not accept them.


A Dot Plot is, in short, a graph showing the distribution of qualitative variables. Each dot represents a single value. A whole number can have more than one value. The dots are placed over each other, so the column’s height represents its frequency.

Note Dot charts don’t look like Scatterplots. Because it sorts data into BINs, they look more like a histogram. You can create dot charts using software like SPSS.