A Venn diagram is a visual depiction of the similarities and differences between two or more different items. It consists of a series of shapes - usually circles - whose edges overlap. While it's not required that you use a circle, it's probably the most convenient shape because several circles can overlap easily.
Each shape represents some group or entity. Characteristics the two entities have in common are found where the shapes overlap. Items unique to only one entity are written in the non-overlapping part of their respective shapes.
If all the features of one entity are among additional features of another entity, the entire shape of the first entity is contained within that of the second.
Venn diagrams are useful in any situation requiring a direct comparison of two or more categories or concepts. Their function varies from an informative poster to a decision-making tool.
How to Make a Venn Diagram
Watch this quick video tutorial on creating Venn diagrams with SmartDraw.
- The first step to creating a Venn diagram is deciding what to compare. Place a descriptive title at the top of the page.
- Create the diagram. Make a circle for each of the subjects. Every circle should overlap with at least one other circle.
- Label each circle. Near or inside of each circle place the name of the topic or item which the circle represents. Avoid writing the titles inside neighboring circles in order to maintain clarity. It may be useful to distinguish the titles from other text by placing them in a box or altering their font or color.
- Enter the differences. Inside each circle place characteristics that are unique to that specific item or idea, and are not true of any of the other topics.
- Enter the similarities. If two or more subjects have a feature in common, place that feature in the section in which all such shapes overlap.