Data visualization and storytelling


How to make box plots in Flourish

Explore the distribution of your data with box-and-whisker diagrams

Box plots, also known as box-and-whisker diagrams, are a common and useful statistical visualization. They let you see the distribution of your data quickly by highlighting the median and quartiles of each category. Optional “whiskers” extend out from the boxes and can be used to show which data points are outliers.

We’ve just added box plots to Flourish, so creating and publishing them online is now as easy as uploading a spreadsheet! Like every Flourish visualization, our box plots are mobile-friendly, animating and free to make and publish on a public account.

Since the World Cup is under way, here’s a topical example exploring the ages of players at this year’s tournament.

Edit this example »

As the example above shows, Flourish box plots have tons of useful features:

  • Automatically calculate and display median and range boxes.
  • Display plots vertically or horizontally (good for small screens like phones).
  • Add an interactive filter to help your users compare categories.
  • Hide the whiskers or fine tune their length.
  • Hide the boxes completely to make a “dot plot”.
  • Animate between views.

Try making one now, or read on for a full demonstration.

How to make a box plot in Flourish

  • Make a new visualization using the scatter template.
  • Upload a CSV or Excel file, with one row for each dot in your box plot.
  • In the data bindings panel, specify the y-axis and x-axis – e.g. to make a vertical box plot like our example, choose a categorial variable for the y-axis and a continuous variable for the x-axis.
  • Turn on the box plot view in the settings panel next to the visualization preview.
  • Optionally add a “filter” data binding to allow the user to filter, as in our example, or a “time” column to create a time slider.
  • Tweak the colors, layout, popup settings etc until you’re happy.
  • Publish it and share!
Create your own box plot now »