Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Highlighting Trends and Variations in Data
Figure 13-17 The Series Options tab allows you to position chart elements for maximum
readability. Options vary by chart type.
Highlighting Trends and Variations in Data
Tables filled with data can be a river of black and white. Charts sometimes lack nuance. Are
there intermediate ways to spot patterns and identify anomalies while still maintaining a
full view of the data in a table? Indeed there are.
You can help your audience (and yourself) make more sense of data by using conditional
formatting to highlight values that meet criteria you define. You can also add minigraphs
called sparklines to a table to highlight trends within a row or column. In this section, we
explain how to take advantage of both of these features.
Using Conditional Formatting to Highlight Cells Based on
Their Content
The idea behind conditional formatting is simple: You want a table or a range of data to be
able to tell you instantly whether there are any values that demand your immediate
attention, or whether there are any patterns that might not be apparent from the raw data. You
start by selecting a range of data—an entire table, a column or row containing grand totals,
or a subset of data representing groups whose performance you want to examine more
closely. Then you define conditions for Excel to test against the values in those cells. Is a
particular value greater than or less than a specific amount? Is it in the top (or bottom) of
all values in the range? Does it contain a specific word or string of text or fall within a range
of dates?
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