Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Now for our examination of the data in Table 2.2 in light of our advice:
1. Not all data are created equal— Our businessperson has assembled a variety of
data dimensions or fields to provide the central data element ($ Amount) with
ample context and orientation. The 7 fields that comprise each record appear to
be sufficient for the businessperson’s goal of recording the expenses and describ-
ing the context associated with his business operation. This includes recording
each expense to ultimately calculate annual profit or loss, tracking particular
expenses associated with projects or other uses of funds (e.g. charity), and the
timing of expenses (Date Rcvd., Days to Pay, etc.) and subsequent cash flow. If
the businessperson expands his examination of the transactions, some data may
be missing, for example Order Number or Shipping Cost. Only the future will
reveal if these data elements will become important, and for now, these data are
not collected.
2. More is better —The data elements that our businessperson has selected may not
all be used in our graphical presentation, but this could change in the future.
Better to collect a little too much data initially than to perform an extensive
collection of data at a later date. Those invoices and scraps of paper representing
primary data may be difficult to find or identify in 3 months.
3. More is not better —Our businessperson has carefully selected the data that he
feels is necessary without creating excessive data entry effort.
4. Keep it simple and columnar —Unique and simple titles for the various data
dimensions (e.g. Account, Date Rcvd., etc.) have been selected and arranged
in columnar fashion. Adding, inserting, or deleting a column is virtually costless
for even an unskilled Excel user.
5. Comments are useful —The Comment field has been designated for the specific
project (e.g. Project X), source item (e.g. Computer), or other important infor-
mation (e.g. Monthly charge). If any criticism can be made here, it is that maybe
these data elements deserve a title other than Comment. For example, entitle this
data element Project/Sources of Expense and use the Comment title as a less
structured data category. These could range from comments relating to customer
service experiences, to information on possible competitors that provide similar
6. Consistency in category titles —Although you may not consider there to be
a significant difference between the account titles Office Supply and Office
Supplies, Excel will view them as completely distinct accounts. Our businessper-
son appears to have been consistent in the use of account types and comment
entries. It is not unusual for these entries to be converted to numerical codes, for
example, replacing Printing with account code 351.
2.4 Types of Charts and Graphs
There are literally hundreds of types of charts and graphs (these are synonymous
terms) available in Excel. Thus, the possibilities for selecting a presentation for-
mat are both interesting and daunting. What graph type is best for my needs? Often
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