How Is a Tally Chart Made?

tally-chart-made Credit: Iain Sarjeant/E+/Getty Images

To make a tally chart, single lines are drawn next to one another until reaching five, where the fifth line crosses the four other lines diagonally. This is a simple charting method that can be used quickly for surveys or other needs.

A tally chart works by grouping tallies into fives. For instance, if taking a poll on people's favorite colors, after the color name, a person would add the tallies one by one. Once the person taking the survey reaches four, the fifth answer becomes a diagonal tally that crosses the other four. That groups the section into five, allowing them to quickly be added by fives as the number of answers increases.

There is actually another kind of tallying called Tukey tallying, according to Math Is Fun. This type of tallying uses four dots to create a square, then lines are drawn between each dot. Dots are used for tallying one through four, then each line represents five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten. When ten is reached, the image looks like a square with four dotted corners and an X through the middle.

Tukey tallying allows surveys to be taken and scored in groups of ten instead of five, so this can be helpful for questionnaires with a high number of answers.