The Beginner’s Guide to Excel Charts and Graphs
Almost everyone who has used Microsoft Excel has created a chart or graph, or will, at some point in their future. This is one of the many areas where Excel truly shines.
Charts and graphs help communicate data because it is easier for people to absorb the summary of data in a visual format. Nothing cuts to the chase or conveys the outcome of a data study like a well-constructed graph or chart. Let’s look at some of the different types of Microsoft Excel charts and discuss when to use them as well as which is best suited to display different types of data.
Pie Charts are great when you need to break down percentages of items as they relate to the whole series of data that has been collected. For example, if you want to know what percentage of each color car that a dealership sold last year.
Line Charts are good when you have related values in columns and rows in your spreadsheet. They’re great for data that needs to be displayed against a common scale, such as time or date.
Bar Charts are great tools for when you need to display comparisons between different items. They are also especially useful when the data being presented has long axis labels or if the values being shown change over durations. Great examples of this can be seen with values of money or temperature scales.
Stock Charts are obviously very useful in business to describe the fluctuation of stock prices. They also lend themselves to the display of temperature fluctuations. Your data will need to be arranged correctly to use this type of chart. For example, you could put your stock prices into columns based on the readings from the opening, high price, low price, and close of the markets.
Scatter Plots are useful in presenting the statistical data from multiple series of data. These types of charts have two axes. The points where the two types of data are related intersect and are laid out at regular intervals.
Bubble Charts are hybrid charts born from the line chart and pie chart. The data is presented with bubbles at points that intersect on an x and y axis, but also the size of the bubble graphically shows the percentage of the data at that point by its size.
Gantt Charts are constructed from stacked bar charts that show the estimated duration and finish dates in a project plan. Your data can be configured by creating rows for the tasks involved in the project, then a column for the days that have passed since the tasks were started, followed by a column for the number of days left for the estimated completion of each task.
Organization Charts can also be created using Microsoft Excel. Org Charts, as they are most commonly referred to in the business world, are hierarchical representations of the leadership structure of an organization. A SmartArt graphic can be used to create the Org Chart and then can be displayed in other Microsoft Office programs to punch of up your presentations or documents.
These are several types of charts that can be created using Microsoft Excel that can help you build easily-understood, memorable reports and presentations. Charts and graphs are visual tools that people understand more easily because it is simply laid out in front of them without them having to dig through columns and rows of meaningless numbers. Also, they don’t have to read an entire report to get the gist of a collection of data. The image cuts to the chase and shows them what they want to know instantly.
The next time you have to create a report or presentation, think about creating visual tools with Microsoft Excel.
If you’d like to learn more about Excel charts and graphs or how you can use them to leverage your information in an organized fashion, ONLC Training Centers have courses to help you get started. Contact us today for more information.