Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
The Area Chart
The Area Chart
Area charts , according to Excel, “emphasize differences between different sets of data over a period of
time.” Of course that description could be applied to any number of chart types, but area charts draw the
same data trajectories as line charts—but they fill in the space between the line and Horizontal axis.
Here’s the tourist data, committed to an Area chart (Figure 5-26):
Figure 5–26. Tourist areas: tourist data in a Area chart
You see the initial problem. Because the Area chart fills in that space all the way down to the
Horizontal axis, the data series in the “front” can obscure the data series behind it. There are ways to
reformat the chart and work around the issue (you can make the areas transparent, for example), but
again, you’ll need to ask yourself who’s going to be viewing this chart, and how effectively it will capture
your data. Think about using an Area chart to portray data series that have substantial differences in
their values—say changes in salaries across different occupational groups, where one group’s salaries
may tower above the others, avoiding the Area chart overlap problem you see with the tourist data.
The Scatter Chart
Scatter charts compare sets of values, and are better understood with the visual evidence. Here’s a
Scatter chart of the same tourist data (Figure 5-27):
 
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