Pictograph charts show data using graphical representations. Each image on a pictograph chart stands for a certain number of items. For example, a pictograph chart showing the sale of apples may use one apple to mean 100 bushels of apples sold. Pictographs are limited by what they represent based on how small a single representation breaks down to show portions of an image.
Say the apple sales example from above includes the number of apples sold from January to April. One apple icon is next to "Jan" on the pictograph, which means 100 bushels were sold in that month. February, or "Feb," has four apple icons for 400 bushels. March, or "Mar," contains two and a half apple icons for 250 bushels. Exact figures are not represented, such as 248 bushels sold in March; 250 is the closest figure shown on the pictograph.
Another example shows ice cream sales in a school cafeteria during a school year from September to June. The pictograph shows the months down the left side, and one ice cream bar represents 20 ice cream bars. In September, the pictograph shows 2.5 ice cream bars, or a total of 30 bars sold.
A pictograph substitutes symbols and pictures for graph elements such as bars, lines and points. A pictograph is also known as a pictorial chart, pictogram, picture graph or pictorial graph.