Normally, pie charts are circular and each piece of data is shown as a slice of a whole.

However, for some purposes, it makes more sense to display the same kind of data as a rectangle divided up with vertical lines, with each horizontal "slice" of the rectangle representing a piece of the data.

It would look like one rectangle cut into multiple slices along one dimension. For example, suppose my data was different types of transportation used in the United States, and the data was the following, then the plot might look like the ASCII depiction below the data.



Note that the intent of the above depiction is to have one long rectangle cut into 3 pieces. Two are 25% of the total rectangle and one is 50% of the rectangle.

Is there a word for this kind of "rectangular" pie chart?


3 Answers 3


I think what you're asking about is a bar chart or bar graph (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_chart ).


In one of the comments above, Jesse suggested stacked bar chart. Googling for corresponding images results in a great number of exactly the type of chart you are asking about being displayed.

Second update:

Just for the sake of completeness, I've reinstated a link that someone posted (and then deleted) to the following Wikipedia description of a further type of rectangular chart:


  • No, I am not looking for a bar chart. I think I described it poorly.
    – merlin2011
    May 7, 2014 at 7:23
  • 1
    See the updated question.
    – merlin2011
    May 7, 2014 at 7:32
  • In this case, since merlin2011 seems to be more interested in showing the proportions of the parts than representing them in a quantitative way, a specific type of stacked bar chart would usually be used. In most data visualisation applications, this type of chart will be referred to as a "100% stacked bar [column] chart". This could include more than one bar (to show transport type by age groups, for example), but there is no necessity for this, it can be applied to a single segmented bar just the same.
    – AdamV
    May 7, 2014 at 12:20
  • A stacked bar chart of percentages would always have the same width.
    – Oldcat
    May 7, 2014 at 17:02
  • Treepmap was the thing I looked for :-) May 12, 2019 at 16:02

I think it is a kind of bar chart...

  • This comes closer to the image of the idea I am looking for, but the idea is to have a rectangle cut into literal slices along one dimension, where each slice is proportional to the size of the data point.
    – merlin2011
    May 7, 2014 at 7:25
  • 1
    @merlin2011 -- Could you post a link to the kind of chart you are asking about? I think we need to see an example.
    – Erik Kowal
    May 7, 2014 at 7:27
  • So you are looking for a bar chart with only one bar, something like that? May 7, 2014 at 7:28
  • @ErikKowal, It is extremely hard to find a picture without the word. I have only seen such pictures in other people's presentations. I just made a simple ascii depiction in my question.
    – merlin2011
    May 7, 2014 at 7:31
  • 1
    Maybe stacked bar chart is the key word to search.
    – Jesse
    May 7, 2014 at 7:49

There are types of heat maps that are rectangle and function like pie charts. Depending on your needs there is probably a variation that will work for you.

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