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How IBCS Charts Can Make Your Reports Easier To Read


Data charts are a good way to show what you know, see, and learn from your data. But some charts are hard to understand. They can be messy, wrong, or confusing. How can you make better charts that are clear, simple, and easy to read?

One way is to use the International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) for data charts. IBCS is a set of rules and tips for making business charts and tables. It tells you things like what words, shapes, colours, and signs to use. The aim of IBCS is to make your charts easier to understand by using the same way of showing things.

Why are IBCS charts good?

IBCS charts have many benefits over normal charts. Here are some of them:

They help you think. IBCS charts use the same design and signs for different kinds of charts. This means you don’t have to waste time working out what each chart means or how to compare them. You can focus on the message and the data instead of the look and the style.

They help you compare. IBCS charts use the same sizes, lines, and units for similar charts. This makes it easy to compare data across different charts, times, or situations. You can also use things like scenarios, differences, and markers to show what is the same and what is different.

They help you understand. IBCS charts use simple and clear titles, names, and keys. They avoid too much, too little, or the wrong information. They use colours sparingly, with shapes and patterns to show the most important information and to group related data. They also use notes and comments to explain the data and the message.

How can you make IBCS charts?

Many different data visualisation tools can help you make IBCS charts, including now Power BI (link here to a fantastic LinkedIn post by 🎯Alexander Korn covering this new functionality in December 2023’s release).

Even if you aren’t using Power BI (or similar tools), you can use any visualisation software to achieve a similar result. You just need to follow the IBCS rules and tips, which are summed up in the word, “SUCCESS”. Standing for,

  • Say – Give a message
  • Unify – Use the same signs
  • Condense – Put more information
  • Check – Make sure it is right
  • Express – Choose the best way to show it
  • Simplify – Avoid too much
  • Structure – Organise the content

You can learn more about the SUCCESS word and the IBCS rules on the IBCS website.


IBCS charts are a great way to improve your data charts and communication skills. They can help you make charts that are easy to read, understand, and compare. They can also help you give your message more effectively and persuasively.

Get in touch with us today if you have any questions, feedback, or simply need help to ensure your data is understood within your business.

We hope you liked this article and found it useful. Thanks for reading!

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