What is a Venn Diagram?

Constantin Macri 14/02/2023 | 16:19

Sometimes you want to show the logical relationship between two or more data sets or sets of items. A Venn diagram is perfectly suited for this, and it is used in business, computer science, linguistics, statistics, mathematics, and many other areas. Many people encounter Venn diagrams in passing, but do not know how to use them properly. This article will help you understand Venn diagrams and their uses much better.


Understanding Venn Diagrams

So, what is a Venn diagram? A Venn diagram helps show the relationship between sets of data or items. These diagrams are useful for showing similarities and differences as well as comparing and contrasting the characteristics of different sets of data.

Venn diagrams use circles to represent the different sets of items of data, which can be two and typically up to five sets. After collecting the data you would like to work with, you can use a Venn diagram maker to create Venn diagrams that accept multiple data sets.

Each circle in a Venn diagram contains the characteristics that define a single set, with similar characteristics between the different data sets or items listed where the circles overlap.

Although Venn diagrams are usually simple diagrams when they use circles, they can also be quite sophisticated when they use 3D representations. You will typically see this happen where there are seven or more sets of data.

Because they help their users to depict and visualize data in clear and powerful ways, Venn diagrams have become ubiquitous in reports and presentations, especially in business and education.

The Purpose and benefits of Venn Diagrams

Venn diagrams are excellent for organizing information visually. This enables them to help with the visualization of data and to see the relationship between items. These can be commonalities or differences depending on how the Venn diagram is used.

The visual organization of information can also make it much easier to think through the logic behind something. This utility has seen Venn diagrams used from elementary to advanced levels.

Venn diagrams are also perfectly suited to helping a person or entity make a choice. They do this by making it clear what items have in common and what differentiates them. This is quite powerful when, for example, a person or entity is choosing an important product or service to buy.

Mathematicians also use them to solve complex mathematical problems and to compare data sets. Doing the latter helps the person researching to find a correlation between occurrences and to predict the probability of them occurring.

Venn diagrams also help work through logic that involves “and” or “or” statements. These are known as Boolean logic problems, and they can be equations or statements that one needs to think through.

Types of Venn Diagrams

There are different Venn diagrams to choose from depending on the data sets you would like to work with. Most people who have worked in business know of the classic two-set Venn diagrams. These are best suited for comparing two data sets, such as your product with your competitor’s. They are formed using two overlapping circles and are easy to understand, create, and use.

Three-set Venn diagrams that use three overlapping circles to help you compare three data sets. You can use the areas where two circles overlap to write the similarities between the data sets or whatever else you are comparing. The center section where the circles overlap could be used for similarities between all three data sets or items.

Four and five-set Venn diagrams work similarly to three-set ones, and they help you compare three and four data sets or items respectively. You could create a Venn diagram with more circles and data sets, but things become increasingly complex the more data sets you add.

If you need to use or work more than five circles and data sets, it would be best to see which options are better suited to the task.

When To use a Venn Diagram

Venn diagrams are suitable for different circumstances and uses including:

  • Marketing – To explore the features and benefits of different marketing channels
  • Decisions making
  • Competitive analysis


Venn diagrams are an excellent option for comparing data sets and sets of items. They give you a visual representation that is easy to understand and work with. Used properly, they can be an indispensable tool to any business.

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