Welcome to Chart.js!
- Get started with Chart.js — best if you're new to Chart.js
- Migrate from Chart.js v3 or Chart.js v2
- Join the community on Discord (opens new window) and Twitter (opens new window)
- Post a question tagged with
chart.json Stack Overflow (opens new window)
- Contribute to Chart.js
# Why Chart.js
Chart.js was created and announced (opens new window) in 2013 but has come a long way since then. It’s open-source, licensed under the very permissive MIT license (opens new window), and maintained by an active community.
Chart.js provides a set of frequently used chart types, plugins, and customization options. In addition to a reasonable set of built-in chart types, you can use additional community-maintained chart types (opens new window). On top of that, it’s possible to combine several chart types into a mixed chart (essentially, blending multiple chart types into one on the same canvas).
Chart.js is highly customizable with custom plugins (opens new window) to create annotations, zoom, or drag-and-drop functionalities to name a few things.
Chart.js comes with a sound default configuration, making it very easy to start with and get an app that is ready for production. Chances are you will get a very appealing chart even if you don’t specify any options at all. For instance, Chart.js has animations turned on by default, so you can instantly bring attention to the story you’re telling with the data.
# Developer experience
Chart.js has very thorough documentation (yes, you're reading it), API reference, and examples. Maintainers and community members eagerly engage in conversations on Discord (opens new window), GitHub Discussions (opens new window), and Stack Overflow (opens new window) where more than 11,000 questions are tagged with
# Canvas rendering
Chart.js renders chart elements on an HTML5 canvas unlike several others, mostly D3.js-based, charting libraries that render as SVG. Canvas rendering makes Chart.js very performant, especially for large datasets and complex visualizations that would otherwise require thousands of SVG nodes in the DOM tree. At the same time, canvas rendering disallows CSS styling, so you will have to use built-in options for that, or create a custom plugin or chart type to render everything to your liking.
Chart.js is very well suited for large datasets. Such datasets can be efficiently ingested using the internal format, so you can skip data parsing and normalization. Alternatively, data decimation can be configured to sample the dataset and reduce its size before rendering.
In the end, the canvas rendering that Chart.js uses reduces the toll on your DOM tree in comparison to SVG rendering. Also, tree-shaking support allows you to include minimal parts of Chart.js code in your bundle, reducing bundle size and page load time.
Chart.js is actively developed (opens new window) and maintained by the community. With minor releases (opens new window) on an approximately bi-monthly basis and major releases with breaking changes every couple of years, Chart.js keeps the balance between adding new features and making it a hassle to keep up with them.