Thursday, October 24, 2013

Better Charts

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that the construction of Better Charts is of keen interest to me. It should be to you, as well. Charts, after all, are the Best Communicators of information that any Excel user has in his or her arsenal. Charts Visually Convey your data in the most quickly comprehended (if done well) manner.

It is, therefore, worth any Excel Guru’s time to assure that they are created with skill and insight. Of course, no one has any time to waste on frivolous enhancements, so how can you get the most Value for your Chart-Improvement Efforts?

Here is a Quick, 2-Minute Drill for Polishing Your Charts: 

1.  Chart Type: Quickly scan the types of charts available and consider which (it may not be the one “that we always use”…)

2.  Legends seldom add any additional information to a well-constructed chart. Assure that the chart is communicating well and then Right-click and Delete the Legend! 

3.  Gridlines tend to Clutter your visual information. Consider if that is the case, then Right-Click and Delete the Gridlines!

4.  Rounded Corners can add a bit of Bravura to your chart and set it apart from the mundane. Go to Format Chart Area, select Border Styles, and put a check mark next to Rounded Corners.

5.  Formatting:  Add a little Zest to your charts by Formatting Your Plot Area. Right-Click and choose a Gradient Fill that adds a touch of Finesse while maintaining a professional look.

Taking a couple of extra minutes can Separate Your Work from the commonplace charts that we all see too often. A mere 2 minutes effort can Make Them Shine!

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