How To Use a Pareto Chart

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A Pareto chart is a graphical tool used to display the relative proportions of occurrence of different values. The chart is named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who first developed the concept in the early 1900s, and the charts are based on his Pareto principle. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, is a principle that states that, for many events, approximately 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

A Pareto chart is made up of a series of bars, with the height of each bar representing the relative proportion of occurrence of a particular value. The bars are arranged in descending order, from the value with the highest occurrence to the value with the lowest occurrence.

These charts are particularly useful for highlighting the most important factors in a process. By identifying the value with the highest occurrence, you can focus your attention on the most important factors in order to make the biggest impact on the process. They’re great for business use since they help you identify the causes responsible for your positive business outcomes, so you can focus more attention on those instead of wasting time on causes that won’t have as much impact. Here are a few tips on how to use a Pareto chart in your organization.

Select the data to include on the chart.

A Pareto chart is used to find the relative proportions of occurrence of different values. In order to use a Pareto chart, the data must be entered into two columns: the first column lists the different values, and the second column lists the corresponding frequencies or proportions. The data you include could be anything, such as the number of customer complaints you’ve received in the next quarter. If you can determine the origin point of most of the complaints through a root cause analysis, you can begin to address them, perhaps by implementing an efficient customer relationship management system.

To create a Pareto chart in Microsoft Excel, begin by creating a table with the values in the first column and the corresponding frequencies in the second column. Next, select the data in the table, and click the “Insert” tab. In the “Charts” group, select the “Pareto” chart. Excel will create a Pareto chart based on the data in the table.

If the data in the table is not in ascending order, Excel will automatically sort the data. You can also sort the data by clicking on the “Data” tab and selecting the “Sort” command. In the “Sort” dialog box, select the “Sort by” column and the “Ascending” or “Descending” order.

If you want to customize your Pareto chart, select the chart, and click on the “Design” tab on the ribbon. In the “Chart Styles” group, select the desired style. You can also adjust the chart’s colors and other settings to make values easier to track. After all, the entire point of this visualization is to display complex ideas in ways that can be understood at a glance.

Understand what the chart represents.


Once you have your data for the chart organized in a table and you’ve created your initial chart, you can focus on what it’s actually telling you. Your chosen data will be graphed on a vertical axis, with the different values listed on the horizontal axis. The bars on the graph are then proportional to the amount of data associated with each value.

Pareto charts are often used to identify the most common causes of a problem. In this case, the chart can be used to help you focus on the most important problems to solve. It can also be used to prioritize solutions for business processes. Pareto charts can also be used to compare different values. For example, you can use a Pareto chart to compare the number of product defects you’ve recorded recently and match them to different causes. This makes it easy to prioritize where your efforts should be concentrated first before moving on to less common causes.

Ultimately, a Pareto chart is one of the best ways to determine the causes of business problems. It’s perfect for data that can be measured in terms of frequency, cost, or duration, and you can use it to easily communicate issues during meetings. Just keep in mind that it’s only useful for analyzing past data.

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