Is it necessary to add grid lines to a line chart in academic paper? (I'm interested especially in computer science field.) Is there any rule, say, not necessary for time axis?

Google tells me that most part of line chart does not have grid line, but seems there is not consistent rule.

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1 Answer 1


There are no such rules. I have seen a wide, wide variety of formatting styles for figures in CS conferences and journals.

The goal is portray something to the reader. What provides them that information in the easiest way possible? Too many grid lines and they get in the way, but without them it might be hard to eyeball the y-value.

I often end up making 20+ versions of each of my figures before finally settling on one that is most readable.

  • 4
    In addition, I suggest that we should use legend with 'square', 'circle', etc. for better understanding of data after black-white post print. Provided that you should not be over covered with these points.
    – Mithun
    Mar 19, 2016 at 6:41

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