Graphs might also be considered figures, that category of content that includes photographs, diagrams, illustrations, flowcharts, maps, and anything in a product that is not words or audio. We talked about diagrams and such before.
Like tables and diagrams, graphs convey information, show trends and relationships among information, and present a lot of information in a small space. Graphs do a lot of heavy lifting. As with anything we edit, a checklist helps ensure we are thorough and consistent.
Here is a checklist you can use with graphs, in particular. It’s not tied to any specific style guide. You can add relevant style details to make the list even more helpful.
- Graph is helpful/required
- Figure number format— bold/rom, decimal?
- Figures numbered in order
- Figure title format—case, bold/rom
- Figure title wording
- Figure number and title above or below figure
- Labels match narrative
- Labels don’t obscure content
- Leaders clearly identify labelled element
- Labels clear and legible
- Math checked—totals (whether implied or stated), percentage change, etc.
- Legend clear and adequate
- Notes in place, in order, and correct
- Note icons correct and in order
- Shading and/or color will reproduce adequately, meet accessibility guidelines
- Alt tags and metadata provided for accessibility and e-production
- Wide graph arranged landscape
- Consistent with other graphs
- Graphs provided separately in figures manuscript
- Location noted in manuscript
- Referred to in narrative
- Copyright notice and permission in place for reproductions
- Required in publication or only in online supplement
- Reproduction quality or new graph requested