For some time now, graphing data in Excel has become not only simple, but also automated in that you can easily move from a tabular spreadsheet to an entire area, bars, lines, or pie charts in no time, with a few well-regarded. mouse clicks. Then, as you edit your spreadsheet data, Excel automatically makes changes to charts and graphs.
That’s not the end of the show’s graphic magic, though. You can, for example, change the type of chart or graph at any point, as well as edit color schemes, perspective (2D, 3D, etc.), change the axis, and much, much more.
But of course, it all starts with the spreadsheet.
Distribution of your data
Although Excel allows you to organize your spreadsheets in many ways, by plotting data, you get the best results so that each row represents a record and each column contains elements of specific rows or belonging to them.
Eh? Take, for example, the following spreadsheet.
The left column contains a list of laser printers. Except for row 1, which contains the labels for the columns or headers, each row represents a specific printer, and each back cell contains data about the particular machine.
In this case, each cell contains print speed data: column B, how long it took to print the first page of a print job; Column C, how long it took to print all the pages, including the first; Column D, how long it took to modify the entire document, without the first page.
While this is a somewhat basic spreadsheet, no matter how complex your data is, staying in this standard format helps streamline the process. As you can see it appears, you can assign cells to a small part of the spreadsheet or trace the entire document or spreadsheet.
The typical Excel graph consists of several different parts, as shown in the following image.
If you haven’t done so before, you’ll probably be amazed at how easily Excel allows you to plot your spreadsheets. As mentioned, you can assign the entire spreadsheet or select a group of columns and rows to draw.
Say, for example, that in the worksheet we worked on in the previous section you wanted to represent only the first two columns of data (columns B and C), leaving column D aside. This involves a simple two-step procedure:
- Select the data you want to represent, including the labels in the left column and the column headers that you want to include in the chart, as shown below.
Or, to draw the entire spreadsheet, follow these steps.
- Select all the data in the spreadsheet, as shown in the image above. Don’t do it select the entire sheet, as shown in the second image below: select only the cells that contain data.
Excel does a good job of choosing the right chart type for your data, but if you prefer a different chart type, such as horizontal bars or maybe a different color scheme, maybe even a 3D design with fills of gradient and background, the program makes all these effects easier to achieve.
Changing the chart type
As with everything else in Excel, there are several ways to modify the chart type. The easiest way, however, is to do it.
- Select the chart.
- On the menu bar, click Graphic design.
- In the graphic design ribbon, choose Change the chart type.
This opens the Change Chart Type dialog box, which is displayed here.
As you can see, there are many types of graphics and clicking on one of them shows several variations at the top of the dialog box.
In addition to changing the graphics types in the graphic design ribbon, you can also make various modifications, such as color schemes, layout, or application of one of the program’s many clip art graphics styles. Graphic styles are, of course, similar to Microsoft Word paragraph styles. As in MS Word, you can apply one of many styles as is, edit existing styles, or create your own.
Add and remove graphic elements
Graphic elements are, of course, the various components, such as the title, caption, X and Y axes, etc., that make up your graphic. You can add and remove these items by clicking the plus symbol that appears on the right side of the chart when you select it.
Below the graph are the flying elements Graphic styles fly out, which is displayed when you click the brush icon to the right of the graph.
Below are the graphic styles you will find Graphics filters, which allows you to enable and disable (or filter) various components of your chart, as shown here:
If these editing options aren’t enough, there are plenty of others in the formatting graphics area to the right of the spreadsheet that allow you to change all aspects of your chart, from fills and backgrounds to grid lines, going through 3D bars, cake slices, leaving shadows: I can go on and on. But I’m sure you understand what’s available.
When you click Text options, for example, you’ll get another rain of effects that you can apply to graphics text. The options are almost limitless, to the point that without any restrictions, you could end up creating fun-looking graphics and graphics, without even trying everything, which leads me to an important design guideline.
Just because you have all these great design tools at your fingertips doesn’t mean you have to use them … or not so many at once. The idea is to make your graphics attractive enough to grab your audience’s attention, but not so busy that the design itself distorts the message you’re trying to convey. After all, it’s the important message, not your design ability or the gross power of your graphic design software.
A good rule of thumb is that if you seem too busy and distracted, you probably are; move some. Don’t use too many decorative fonts, if any, as they are not easy to read. When using graphics and business-oriented graphics, focus on what You’re trying to say and not so much how you say it.
Meanwhile, the tabular data graph can make it much easier to understand and much friendlier than column after column of text and numbers.