Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Using a Long, Meaningful Title to Explain Your Point
If the chart is talking about one particular data point, draw that column in a
contrasting color. For example, all the columns might be white, but the Q3 bar could be black.
This draws the reader’s eye to the bar that you are trying to emphasize. If you are
presenting data on screen, use red for negative periods and blue or green for positive
periods.
The following sections present some Excel trickery that allows you to highlight a certain
section of a line chart or a portion of a column chart. In these examples, you will spend
some time up front in Excel adding formulas to get your data series looking correct before
creating the chart.
If you would like a great book about the theory of creating charts that communicate well, check out
Gene Zelazny’s Say It with Charts Complete Toolkit . Gene is the chart guru at McKinsey & Company who
trained the consultants who taught me the simple charting rules. While Say It with Charts doesn’t
discuss computer techniques for producing charts, it does challenge you to think about the best way
to present data with charts and includes numerous examples of excellent charts at work. Visit www.
zelazny.com for more information.
3
Using a Long, Meaningful Title to Explain Your Point
If you are a data analyst, you are probably more adept at making sense of numbers and
trends than the readers of your chart. Rather than hoping the reader discovers your
message, why not add the message to the title of the chart?
Figure 3.21 shows a default chart in Excel. Both the legend and title use the “Market
Share” heading from cell B71. These words certainly do not need to be used twice on the
chart.
Figure 3.21
By default, Excel uses an
unimaginative title taken
from the heading of the
data series.
 
 
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