Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Combo Charts Revisited

In my current class of Excel Gurus, I once again reiterated one my favorite maxims, “If you have to think about what the chart is trying to say, it’s a Bad chart”.  So how do we communicate better with our charts?  Enter Combo Charts, which are a one of the mainstays when improving your message in your Excel Charts.

Let’s say you want to compare the number of your Customers for two years, and you want to be able to instantly see which months were the big hitters and which were the duds.  This is easily done, and can be enhanced using Combo Charts and the addition of a bit of attentive formatting.

Let’s Look at an Example:

1. Create a standard Column Chart using the table below:

 2. This will produce the totally ugly and Difficult-to-Decipher Standard Column Chart as illustrated below (you really do not want to use this style and format…):

3. Right-click once on any single column for the year 2013. This will select all of the columns for that year.
4. You can then select Change Series Chart Type and choose an Area Chart
5. Double-click on your chart, and bring up the Design Tab Tools.
6. Then take a couple of minutes to add some visual appeal by formatting your chart to create an easy-on-the-eyes chart similar to the one below:

And there it is! You have created a Combo Chart that Communicates Effortlessly with your spreadsheet viewers. Totally Cool!

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