An area chart is similar to a line chart but with color or shading used to fill the area between the x-axis and the line. Data points are plotted against two variables on the x and y axes, and these are then connected by a line and the area below is filled or shaded.
Area Charts are often used for showing how a variable changes over time, with time plotted on the x-axis. However, they can also be used for other variables, for example, showing how the elevation of a route changes over distance. Stacked area charts can also be used to show how the sum total is comprised of different categories or types.
When you want to show a pattern over time, but aren’t as concerned about displaying exact values, area charts can be a good choice. Stacked area charts are a good option for showing how the total consists of different elements, but these graphs can get difficult to read if too many series are included. In some cases, a line chart might be clearer if more detail is needed.