Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 8: Components That Show Trending
Using chart types appropriate for trending
It would be nice if you could definitively say which chart type you should use when building
trending components. But the truth is that no chart type is the silver bullet for all situations. For
effective trending, you need to understand which chart types are most effective in different
trending scenarios.
Using line charts
Line charts are the kings of trending. In business presentations, a line chart almost always indicates
movement across time. Even in areas not related to business, the concept of lines is used to indicate time —
consider timelines, family lines, bloodlines, and so on. The benefit of using a line chart for trending is that
it’s instantly recognized as a trending component, avoiding any delay in information processing.
Line charts are especially effective in presenting trends with many data points — as the top chart in
the Figure 8-1 shows. You can also use a line chart to present trends for more than one time period,
as shown in the bottom chart in Figure 8-1.
Figure 8-1: Line charts are the chart of choice when you need to show trending over time.
Using area charts
An area chart is essentially a line chart that’s been filled in. So, technically, area charts are appropriate
for trending. They’re particularly good at highlighting trends over a long time span. For example, the
chart in Figure 8-2 spans more than 120 days of data.
Using combination charts
If you’re trending one series of time, a line chart is absolutely the way to go. However, if you’re
comparing two or more time periods on the same chart, combination charts may bring out the
comparisons better.
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