Interested in becoming an Affiliate Trainer? We are now accepting applications for local and international positions. No need for cold calling! Receive referrals of people looking for specialized training in your area and get access to all of the training curriculum I have created and continue to create to use at your appointments.
A chart is a tool you can use to present your data graphically. This helps give your audience a visual and meaning behind the numbers – especially if you are trying to show comparisons and trends.
Let’s get started by creating data in our Excel worksheet. In our example below, we will be comparing annual sales results for the East Region over a nine year period.
Some questions we might have regarding this data is:
· Where are the highest and lowest values?
· Are the numbers increasing or decreasing?
· What are the different trends we can identify, perhaps by state and year?
We can utilize the charts within Excel to quickly answer our questions. Let’s get started by selecting our data r
ange, A2 through J7. Go to the Insert tab and in the Charts section you will see all of the different categories.
The chart you choose depends on the data you are trying to represent:
· Column: These are all around good charts that work with many different types of data.
· Line: These are best for showing trends over time.
· Pie: Let you equally compare the proportions of different items.
· Bar: These are similar to column charts except they use horizontal bars.
· Area: These are similar to line charts except the area under the lines are filled in.
There are a few other charts that are a bit more specialized.
After we select our data range, we will select the Line drop- down menu from the Charts section. As you can see in the image to the right, we have 2-D and 3-D line charts to choose from. You can hover your mouse over each option for a brief description. We will select the chart highlighted in red in the image to the right, Line with Markers, to display trends over time.
The chart will be placed into your worksheet. Notice the additional tabs that appear in your ribbon while you work in the chart area – Design, Layout and Format. These tabs will allow you to further enhance your chart. We will review some of the more common functions within these tabs.
Looking at the image above, you can see each line represents a state and are identified in the legend. We can quickly see that each year sales increased because the lines are trending upward. New York appears to be the top in sales each year while Delaware is consistently the lowest in sales.
To update the theme of your chart, select the chart and go to the Design tab and select a theme from the Chart Styles section.
Next, let’s add a title by first selecting the chart and then going to the Layout tab. In the Labels section, select the Chart Title drop-down menu.
There are three options to choose from, as shown in the image to the left. We are going to select Above Chart.
To add or remove gridlines from your chart, go to the Layout tab. In the Axes section, select Gridlines. We would like to add the major vertical gridlines to our chart. In the drop-down menu, select Primary Vertical Gridlines, and then select Major Gridlines. You can see the change in the image to the left.
If you feel that the Line chart isn’t representative of your data, you can change it to any of the other options. Select your chart and go to the Design tab. In the Type section, select Change Chart Type. The Change Chart Type dialog box will appear which will allow you to select from all the chart types excel has to offer. After making your selection, select OK.
There are many more options to add or remove from your chart depending on how you want to interpret your data. Take the time to review the different buttons in the Chart Tools tabs, so you are familiar with ways to enhance and represent your data.
This concludes the Charts tutorial.
Click next to continue to the Excel 2010 Sparklines tutorial.