Pictograph – Definition, Examples, Facts, FAQs, How to Make

Home » Math Vocabluary » Pictograph – Definition, Examples, Facts, FAQs, How to Make

What Is a Pictograph in Math?

A pictograph is a graphical representation that employs images or symbols to represent data or information. It visually presents data, making understanding and evaluating the information easier.

Graphs are a more attractive and captivating means of presenting data. They shape and form numbers. A single graph communicates crucial data aspects more vividly and memorably than columns of data.

Pictograph: Definition

A pictograph is a type of graph or a visual representation of information using pictures, icons, or symbols. It uses images or symbols to convey numerical or categorical information in a more visually attractive and accessible way.

What Are the Parts of a Pictograph?

  • Symbols or pictures: Represents data in the form of icons or images.
  • Key: Explains the symbols and their corresponding values or categories. 

(Data values: The numerical quantities or the actual numbers that the symbols represent.)

  • Scale: The scale of a pictograph is the number the symbols represent.
  • Title: Describing the main subject or theme of the pictograph.
  • Data categories: The distinct groups or labels that the data is organized into.

One symbol represents 2 students. It means that the scale of the pictograph is 2.

Parts of a pictograph

Key of a Pictograph

  • A pictograph key serves as a guide for interpreting a pictograph’s symbols or pictures.
  • It provides descriptions of the symbols used and their corresponding values or meanings.
  • The key helps the reader understand the data representation and interpret the information accurately.
  • By associating symbols with specific quantities or categories, the key adds clarity and context to the pictograph.

How to Make a Pictograph

  1. Choose a topic or dataset and use pictures or symbols to visually represent the information.
  2. Identify categories or groups within your dataset, like students’ favorite fruits (e.g., apple, banana, orange).
  3. Determine a suitable key or scale to represent the quantity associated with each symbol. Observe the given data to decide the suitable key.
  4. Assign data values to each category using the key.
  5. Draw the pictograph on paper or use computer software, arranging symbols based on the dataset and established scale.
  6. Label the horizontal and vertical axes of the chart with appropriate titles and units if needed.
  7. Include a descriptive title for the pictograph, reflecting the depicted data or topic.

When making a pictograph, remember to use symbols and icons that are the same size. You can also show data by using only a part of an icon.

Example: Draw a pictograph chart representing the number of visits to an art gallery in 5 days.

DayNumber of Visits


Title: Number of Visits to an Art Gallery

Let’s use key of One symbol = 100 people

Show a half symbol to represent 50 people.


Pictograph of number of visits to an art gallery

How to Read and Interpret Pictographs

  1. Understand the type of the data by reading the title.
  2. Note down the provided key in the pictograph to grasp the scale or what each symbol represents.
  3. Count the symbols in each category to determine the frequency or quantity of each data point. 
  4. Calculate the data values or the real quantity by multiplying the number of symbols in a category by the scale value.

A basic formula is used to calculate the value of the data in the categories.

Value of a category = N × S

Here, N is the number of times, and S is the value of each symbol.

  1. Extract specific information from the pictograph, such as identifying the most common or least common category, or comparing quantities between categories.
  2. Draw conclusions and make inferences based on the information shown in the pictograph.
  3. Analyze the data and offer insights or observations about the represented dataset.

Example: Let us consider a pictograph that represents the number of books read by four students in a class over a month.

Pictograph of number of books read by four students
Student NameNumber of Books Read
Student A📕📕📕📕
Student B📕📕📕📕📕📕
Student C📕
Student D📕📕📕📕📕
📕 = 5 books

Each book symbol represents 5 books.

The categories are names of students.


  • Student A read 5 × 4 = 20 books.
  • Student B read 5 × 6 = 30 books.
  • Student C read 5 × 1 = 5 books.
  • Student D read 5 × 5 = 25 books.
  • Student B read the highest number of books.
  • Student C read the least number of books.

Facts about Pictographs

  • Pictographs are particularly useful for representing data to young children and individuals with limited literacy skills, making information accessible to diverse audiences.
  • Pictographs are one of the oldest forms of data visualization, dating back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and Sumerians.
  • Pictographs can effectively convey complex information using simple and easily understandable visuals.
  • While pictographs are effective for displaying simple data, more complex datasets may require other types of charts or graphs for accurate representation


In this article, we learned about pictographs, which are powerful tools for visually representing data using pictures or symbols. Pictographs offer an engaging and accessible way to present information, making complex data easier to understand. Now, let’s enhance our comprehension by practicing some examples and solving MCQs on pictographs.

Solved Examples on Pictographs

1. The following pictograph represents the number of fruits sold in a day by a fruit shop. Determine the total number of fruits sold by the shop.

Key: Each Mango icon represents ten fruits

Number of fruits sold by a fruit shop


Each Mango icon represents 10 fruits.

Number of apples sold = 3 × 10 = 30 

Number of oranges sold = 4 × 10 = 40

Therefore, the shop sold 30 apples and 40 oranges, which makes a total of 70 fruits.

2. The pictograph below depicts the number of cars in a parking lot at various times of the day. Each car icon indicates five vehicles. Tell the number of cars parked on a day.

TimeNumber of Cars Parked
8 AM🚗 🚗 🚗
12 PM🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗
4 PM🚗 🚗
8 PM🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗


Each car icon indicates five vehicles.

Through this pictograph, we can determine that-

Number of cars parked at-

8 AM = 3 × 5 = 15 cars

12 PM = 6 × 5 = 30 cars

4 PM = 2 × 5 = 10 cars

8 PM = 4 × 5 = 20 cars

Therefore, there were a total of 75 cars parked in the parking lot on a day.

3. Draw a pictogram to represent the number of dogs that belong to four families. 

FamilyNumber of Dogs
Family A6
Family B4
Family C10
Family D2


Let’s choose a Dog image to represent the data.

Let’s take one symbol = 2 dogs

Pictograph of Number of Dogs owned by Four Families:

Pictograph of Number of Dogs owned by Four Families

Through this pictograph, we can determine that-

Pet owned by Family A = 3 × 2 = 6 

Pet owned by Family B = 2 × 2 = 4 

Pet owned by Family C = 5 × 2 = 10

Pet owned by Family D = 1 × 2 = 2

Practice Problems on Pictographs

Pictograph - Definition, Examples, Facts, FAQs, How to Make

Attend this quiz & Test your knowledge.


How are categories represented in a pictograph?

Through numerical values
Through symbols or pictures
Through data scales
Through data trends
Correct answer is: Through symbols or pictures
Different values assigned to categories are represented by symbols or pictures.

What does the key in a pictograph do?

Provides the title of the chart
Explains the data trends and data values
Describes the symbols and their meanings
Represents the data values
Correct answer is: Describes the symbols and their meanings
The key in a pictograph describes the symbols and their meanings.

What does the scale in a pictograph determine?

The title of the pictograph
The frequency of symbols used
The size of symbols in the chart
The value represented by each symbol
Correct answer is: The value represented by each symbol
The scale is the value represented by each symbol.

A pictograph shows how many cars were sold at a dealership. Each car symbol indicates ten vehicles. How many cars were sold if there are ‘three and a half’ car symbols in the pictograph?

Correct answer is: 35
3 symbols: 3 × 10 = 30 cars sold
Half symbol: 5 cars sold
Total number of cars: 30 + 5 = 35 cars

Frequently Asked Questions about Pictographs

A pictograph is a visual representation of data or information that is easy to understand and clear. It aids in the swift exchange of information, making numerical or categorical data simpler to understand and analyze using visual symbols or pictures.

Pictographs use pictures or symbols instead of bars or lines to represent data visually.

Other names for pictographs are picture graphs, pictogramme, pictograph, pictograms, icon charts.

A pictograph is best used to deliver data or information in a visually appealing and easily accessible style. It is useful for communicating numerical or categorical data, comparing quantities or categories, and offering a fast summary of the information depicted.

A pictograph is similar to a graph or chart in that it employs simple visual symbols or pictures to describe data. It consists of a grid or axes on which the symbols are set, as well as a key or text explaining the meaning of the symbols. The symbols can be icons, drawings, or other graphical representations that are immediately recognizable and relate to the data they represent.

Pictographs work well for showing categorical data or data that can be counted

A picture graph and a pictograph both use visual symbols to represent data, but a pictograph typically involves using a key and scale to depict quantities, whereas a picture graph directly represents items with images. However, many times these terms are used interchangeably.