Control Chart Types - How do I Choose the Right One?

What's the difference between variable and attribute control charts?

If you are struggling with these questions, you are not alone.

You can take classes, read articles or find a good decision tree, but next week, you won't remember what you learned...

That is why we built control chart selection rules right into the code of QI Macros add-in for Excel. Here is what you need to know.

how do i choose the right control chart?

There are two main categories of control charts:

  1. Variable control charts for measured data.
  2. Attribute control charts for counted data.

Within these two categories there are seven standard types of control charts. These are often refered to as Shewhart control charts because they were invented by Walter A. Shewhart who worked for Bell Labs in the 1920s.

QI Macros can analyze your data and choose the correct Shewhart control chart for you

Shewhart Variable Control Charts

Use for Measured Data


time, money, length, width, depth, weight, etc.
Often contains decimals (.006, 8.9, 74.05)

Shewhart Attribute Control Charts

Use for Counted Data

yes or no

number of defects, errors or defective items
Always a whole number (1, 44, 75)

Why are there so many types of control charts? What makes them different?

scared young man

Each control chart uses a different formula to account for three characteristics of the underlying data:

  1. The type of data (measured or counted)
  2. How measurements are grouped or what is counted
  3. The sample size

It sounds scary, but its not because...

QI Macros Add-in for Excel:

Installs a new tab on your Excel menu. You dont't need to learn a new application.

Will make the calculations for you. You don't need to learn any formulas.

Will analyze your data and select the right chart for you. You don't need to memorize rules or get lost in a forest of decision trees.

young guy thumbs up


It is so simple to use and anybody can use it. It's like a magic program.

You input the data, you click the button and, "poof," there it is!
It's all done for you. It's great, I love it...

- National Association of Healthcare Quality Conference

QI Macros Draws These Specialized Control Charts Too

Learn More...

More Reasons to Choose QI Macros



  • Only $349 USD - less with quantity discounts
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Easy to Use

  • Works right in Excel
  • Create a chart in seconds
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