Highcharts – Compare Data using Column Chart

by Vincy. Last modified on July 12th, 2022.

Highcharts provides various type of beautiful chart components. It is useful to present data in an interactive graphical representation. There are the pie chart, bar chart, column chart, line chart and lot more different chart formats.

It is a client-side chart component based on Javascript and it can be easily implemented in our web projects.

In this tutorial, let us assume an example scenario and see how we can draw charts for them. Let’s compare the last three years census data of the world’s heavily populated countries.  We will use Highcharts’ column chart to do this comparison.

First let’s initialize the X-axis and Y-axis and other default options. After setting required options, we assign the array of countries as chart legend. Then, we push the census data to theHighcharts series option to draw the bar chart.

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Highcharts data comparison

HTML to Render Chart

The following HTML has countries checkboxes on which the user wants to compare census data. On clicking the compare button the chart will be rendered onto a target DIV. This target DIV reference is set to the renderTo option.

<div class="chart-filter">
	<div class="chart-item-title">
	<input type="checkbox" name="countries" value="China" checked /> China
	<input type="checkbox" name="countries" value="India" class="chart-item-option" checked /> India
	<input type="checkbox" name="countries" value="United States" class="chart-item-option" /> United States
	<input type="button" id="compare" value="Compare" class="btn-input" />
<div id="chart"></div>

Draw Column Chart using Highcharts

The following code is used to set some default options to draw the chart. Those are, the type of the chart, title, hieght and width, X-axis and Y-axis and more. We initialise series option without any data.

var options = {
	chart: {
		 renderTo: 'chart',
		type: 'column',
		height: 500,
	title: {
		text: 'Population'
	xAxis: {
		categories: [ '2014','2015','2016' ],
		title: { text: 'Year' }
	yAxis: {
		min: 0,
		title: {
			text: 'Millon',
			align: 'middle'
	plotOptions: {
		column: {
			dataLabels: {
				enabled: true
	series: [{},{},{}]

After initialising series option we have to set data to these options. In the following code, we set the countries and their census rate to the name and the data of the series option. Also, we set explicit colours to the columns.

// On click event handler to compare data
	var countries = ["China","India","United States"];
	var data = [[1347,1360,1374],[1210,1233,1255],[311,316,322]];
	var color = ["#10c0d2","#f1e019","#a2d210"];
	var selected_countries,j;

	// Clear previous data and reset series data
	for (i=0;i<data.length;i++) {
		options.series[i].name = "";
		options.series[i].data = "";
		options.series[i].color = "";

	// Intializeseries data based on selected countries
	var i = 0;
	$("input[name='countries']:checked").each(function() {	
		selected_countries = $(this).val();
		j = jQuery.inArray(selected_countries,countries)
		if(j >= 0){
		options.series[i].name = countries[j];
		options.series[i].data = data[j];
		options.series[i].color = color[j];
	// Draw chart with options
	var chart = new Highcharts.Chart(options);

	// Display legend only for visible data.
	var item;
	for (k=i;k<=data.length;k++) {
		item= chart.series[k];
		if(item) {
			item.options.showInLegend = false;
			item.legendItem = null;


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