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In reporting experimental results, it is common to use error bars to communicate uncertainty in measurement of the quantity represented by the y-axis.

But, usually, there would also be uncertainty in measurement of the quantity represented by the x-axis.

However, I have rarely seen that being shown on a graph throughout academia and research community.

Why is it so? Is there any merit in showing error rectangles instead of error bars?

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It’s perfectly possible to use error bars on the x axis as well as the y, so the error bars look like a cross. Rectangles or blobs aren’t normally used because they would obscure the point in the plot corresponding to the mean value.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! Could you also throw some light on why that isn't the norm? $\endgroup$ – Ritesh Singh Dec 15 '19 at 18:09
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    $\begingroup$ I’m not an experimentalist, but it is probably because in many cases the value on the $x$ axis is known to such a high precision that its error bars would not be visible. $\endgroup$ – DavidH Dec 16 '19 at 1:45

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