Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Creating a Basic Chart
Line: The Line chart button offers 2D
and 3D lines, and allows you to choose
whether or not each of the data points
plotted over the course of each line is
represented by a dot. Using dots makes
the value of each point more obvious, but
not using them allows for a more obvious,
uncluttered trend to be depicted. If you
don’t care exactly what the sales were in
a particular month but you want it to be
completely obvious that sales have been
rising steadily, a 2D line with no dots will
be your best choice.
Pie: As shown in Figure 11-3, your Pie
chart options include 2D and 3D
variations, plus pies with an optional bar. You
can also choose a pie with an exploded
slice, which means a slice that’s pulled
away from the pie for emphasis.
Figure 11-3
Compare your data in a
simple or more complex
Pie chart.
Column, Line, and Bar Charts,
Oh My!
Column, Line, and Bar charts are great
for showing both trends and comparisons.
If the columns in a chart, for example, show
sales figures over the course of a year, the
height of the columns not only shows what
the sales were for each location, but
because they appear in date order, they also
show the sales trend over the 12 months.
The columns, lines, and bars can also be
compared, so that one can easily see that
one location’s sales are higher or lower
than another location’s sales. The other great
feature of Column, Line, and Bar charts?
They can show multiple data series in one
chart (unlike Pies, as discussed shortly). So
you can pack a lot of data into a still-easy-to-
understand chart.
Don't Mix Your Pies
Pie charts can show only one data series at
a time. If you want to show sales for several
locations for one quarter or one month,
that’s one data series. If you want to look at
a single location for the entire year, that’s
another data series, and would be in a
separate pie, not combined in one pie. Why?
Because for a Pie chart to be effective, each
slice needs to be a different color. If you’re
charting the New York location’s sales for a
whole year, you’d have 12 different-colored
slices, and all would be clear. If you tried to
show both New York and Los Angeles’ sales
for a year, you’d have 24 slices, and need 24
different colors—and it would be impossible
to simply compare, say, March sales for New
York and Los Angeles, in such a complex pie.
 
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