How to Make a Matrix Chart

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A matrix chart, also known as a matrix or matrix diagram, is a way to organize and visually display the relationship between up to four groups of information or multidimensional data on a grid. They are also useful methods for solving logic problems because they allow for easier systematic elimination.

  • Graph paper

1 Draw your shape on graph paper

Draw your shape on graph paper. Different shapes of matrixes include L, T, Y, X, C and roof-shaped. The shape you choose depends on how many groups of data you wish to relate. L-shaped matrixes are used for two groups. Both the T and Y shapes are used to show three groups of information, but in a T-shaped matrix only one of the groups is related to both of the others, while in a Y shape the relationship between all three groups is shown. C-shaped matrixes also relate three groups simultaneously, but these matrixes are three dimensional and difficult to draw so not widely used. The X shape is used for four groups of information with a relation shown between each group and two of the others. Roof-shaped matrixes show one item’s relationship with itself, and are usually combined with T and L shapes.

2 Decide information and relationships

Decide what information and relationships you want to examine on your matrix, and label the different axes or sides of your matrix accordingly. For example, if you want to analyze the relationship between different countries and the amount of televisions sold in each over time, you could use an L shape with the x axis, or horizontal axis, labeled with the years, the y or vertical axis labeled with each country, and the corresponding number of televisions sold written in the appropriate intersection.

3 Use bars

Use bars, bubbles (circles) or numerals to indicate the relationship of the different items on the axis. Bars are best for exact comparisons of values while bubbles, whose area correlates to the value they represent, are better for showing values that differ greatly. Bars also allow for more columns, and bubbles for more rows. Color is also a useful tool for contrasting different data on one grid.

  • If you're designing a complicated matrix, you may want to consider investing in software, available for programs like Excel and PowerPoint, that provides a variety of templates for matrixes.

Alexis Writing has many years of freelance writing experience. She has written for a variety of online destinations, including She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Rochester.