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I created a bar graph where the values are very close. Is there a standard way to highlight small differences? In my case there are quite a few columns, with values ranging from 250 to 280.

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Your difficulty is one of many reasons why data graphics experts like Edward Tufte recommend against using bar graphs. A boxplot can be a much more useful way to display the data in the type of situation you describe. The boxplots show useful information about the ranges of observed values in each category, and the vertical-axis limits can be chosen to highlight the overall range of interest.

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