Excel Charts, Graphs and Templates

Tutorials, Examples and explanations on Excel charting. You can learn how to create almost any chart type in this section. Also learn how to create effective charts, make them interactive and add automation thru VBA

Conditionally Format Chart Backgrounds

Conditionally Format Chart Backgrounds

Learn two techniques to conditionally format the background of a chart based on some external value.



Formatting shortcuts for keyboard junkies

Formatting shortcuts for keyboard junkies

A lot of analysts swear strong allegiance to keyboard shortcuts. But when it comes to formatting a spreadsheet, these shortcuts go for a toss as formatting is a mouse-heavy activity.

But we can use a few simple & effective shortcuts to zip through various day to day formatting tasks. Let me share my favorite formatting shortcuts.



Celebrate Holi with this colorful Excel file

Celebrate Holi with this colorful Excel file

Today is Holi, the festival of colors in India. It is a fun festival where people smear each other with colors, water balloons, tomatoes and sometimes rotten eggs. This year we wanted to play with only water guns, but kids vetoed that idea vehemently. So we ended up driving to my sister-in-law’s place to play with colors (there were no rotten eggs or tomatoes, thankfully).

Let me smear a few colors on you

I would love to splash a jug full of color water on you and say Happy Holi. But the internets have not advanced thus far. So I am going to give you the next best option.

An Excel workbook to play holi



Revenue vs. Commission growth – Getting the message across [BYOD]

Revenue vs. Commission growth – Getting the message across [BYOD]

Situation: Our commissions are growing way faster than revenues
Let’s say you are looking revenues & sales commissions of your company for last few years. The data looks like this:

revenue-growth-vs-commission-growth-data

And you want to highlight the fact that commissions are growing faster than revenues.

So you plot YoY growth rates for revenues & commissions.

Problem: The chart of YoY growth rates is not convincing

Take a look at the chart. It doesn’t convey the message that we want. At best it says “revenue growth is less than commission growth”

revenue-growth-vs-commission-growth-problem

How to convey the message “Commission growth is a problem for us”?



Please join 50 ways to analyze data course to become an awesome analyst

Please join 50 ways to analyze data course to become an awesome analyst

Hi friends & readers of Chandoo.org

I am very happy to invite you to our newest online class, 50 ways to analyze your data. This program is aimed to make you an awesome analyst, training you on vital skills like data analysis, visualization of outputs, modeling business problems and finding best solutions.

Please click here to know more about this program & enroll.

 

What is this course?

50 Ways to analyze your data - an online course from Chandoo.org to make you a better analyst

It is the age of big data. Alas, we need big insights. But finding even small insights buried in our data is a hard task. To find the stories hidden in your data, you need to follow a process like this:

  1. Collect & clean data
  2. Structure the data
  3. Model business problems
  4. Analyze the data (or solve the problem)
  5. Visualize results
  6. Find conclusions
  7. Add layers of complexity to the problem
  8. Build what-if scenarios
  9. Reach conclusions
  10. Take action

This is where the 50 ways to analyze your data course. In this program, we analyze 50 familiar, important and diverse business situations using several of the above steps.

My goal is to make you say “YES” every-time your boss asks “Can you analyze this data and tell me what is going on?”



CP029: Impress your boss with Excel charts – 6 step road map for you

CP029: Impress your boss with Excel charts – 6 step road map for you

In the 29th session of Chandoo.org podcast, let’s impress the boss with Excel charts.

What is in this session?

Many Excel charts live a short life. They spawn in an ambitious analyst’s spreadsheet. They go to boss with literally flying colors. The boss frowns, they disappear in to recycle bin.

Don’t curse your Excel charts with short life span.

Here is a 6 step road map to help you create awesome Excel charts, everytime.

That is our topic for this podcast session.

In this podcast, you will learn

  • Quick announcements about 50 ways & Einstein
  • 6 step road map for charting success
  • ONE: Dig your data
  • TWO: Validate insights
  • THREE: Pick charts that go well
  • FOUR: Add title & message
  • FIVE: Remove clutter
  • SIX: Prompt action
  • A real life example with road map in action
  • Resources for creating awesome charts


Doing Cost Benefit Analysis in Excel – a case study

Doing Cost Benefit Analysis in Excel – a case study

Imagine you are the in-charge of finance department at Hogwarts. So one fine day, while you are practicing the spells, Dumbledore walks in to your office and says, “Our electricity bills are way too high. As the muggles don’t accept wizard money, we have to find a way to reduce our power consumption.”

So you summoned the previous 12 month utility bills to examine energy consumption patterns, and pretty soon you realized that most of the electricity consumption is due to the light bulbs. You suddenly have a brilliant idea. Why not replace the light bulbs with a variety that consumes low power? A light bulb moment indeed.

Your next step is to figure out what varieties of light bulbs are out there. Fortunately this is easier than catching a snitch in a game of quidditch. A quick search revealed that there are 3 types of light bulbs:

  • Regular incandescent bulbs (the kind Hogwarts currently uses)
  • Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL)
  • Light Emitting Diode bulbs (LED)

Now your job is to do a cost benefit analysis of these options and pick one.



Creating In-cell charts with markers for average (or target) values

Creating In-cell charts with markers for average (or target) values

Today, lets talk about an interesting extension to the idea of in-cell charts. Adding average or target markers to the chart.

Adding a marker (like average or target or last year value) can enhance your charts greatly and provide more context. Lets understand how to add marker symbols to in-cell charts.



Download today – Introducing Excel Dashboard Templates from Chandoo.org

Download today – Introducing Excel Dashboard Templates from Chandoo.org

Friends and readers of Chandoo.org, my newest download, Excel Dashboard Templates are available for your consideration. Click here if you are ready to get them. Read on to know more.

What are Excel Dashboard Templates?

As the name suggests, these are ready to use Excel templates for creating awesome, informative, easy to understand & quick dashboards with your data. You just enter your data, set up few calculation options, decide how your dashboard should look & bingo, a beautiful & insightful dashboard will be created for you. These dashboards are optimized to look great, convey key information & prompt correct action.

Who should buy these templates?

Analysts, managers, reporting professionals, business owners & executives. These templates are designed to help anyone preparing Excel based dashboards, scorecards or KPI reports.

Benefits for you

  • Design awesome dashboards in minutes, not months: Don’t waste hours trying to figure out formulas, chart settings and layouts. Instead focus on what your users want, how your business works and use those insights to tell the ‘Excel Dashboard Template’ what you want. Save time and look awesome.
  • Accommodate change elegantly: People change. Businesses change. What your boss wanted last month is no longer what she wants today. So when someone asks you, “hmm, can you show me YTD data instead of last 13 months”, or “Can I see top 10 KPIs instead of all”, you just smile and tap a few clicks and bingo, the new dashboard will be ready. These templates are designed to handle change (data, requirements, design preferences and insights).
  • Beautiful & Informative: These templates are designed with a delicate balance of beauty & insight. Everything is seamlessly designed, perfectly aligned and precisely calculated so that you & your boss can focus on the insights & decisions. Time tested and well honored visualization principles & guidelines are observed thru-out the reports.
  • Built for starters, built for pros: Whether you are just starting with Excel or a seasoned pro, you can find the templates right up your alley. For advanced users, we have many customizations to whet your appetite. Want to build a custom calculation or include another type of sorting, you can do it by tinkering with ‘calculations’ sheet.


Ready to use Excel Dashboard Templates – Official Trailer

Ready to use Excel Dashboard Templates – Official Trailer

Hello folks,

Its almost ready. Our ready to use Excel dashboard templates are coming to a spreadsheet near you on November 13th.

Here is a teaser preview of the dashboards. Our own official trailer, rated A for awesome.

Watch it below:

http://youtu.be/2-TvjpEKf-o

(see it on our YouTube Channel, alternative link)

Excel Dashboard Templates – What are they?

As the name suggests, these a set of workbooks where you can key in your data, set up how you want the looks & bam, a beautiful, insightful, fun, easy to use dashboard pops right out. All in few minutes.

Here is how these templates can help you:

  • Design awesome dashboards in minutes, not months: Don’t waste hours trying to figure out formulas, chart settings and layouts. Instead focus on what your users want, how your business works and use those insights to tell the ‘Excel Dashboard Template’ what you want. Save time and look awesome.
  • Accommodate change elegantly: People change. Businesses change. What your boss wanted last month is no longer what she wants today. So when someone asks you, “hmm, can you show me YTD data instead of last 13 months”, or “Can I see top 10 KPIs instead of all”, you just smile and tap a few clicks and bingo, the new dashboard will be ready. These templates are designed to handle change (data, requirements, design preferences and insights).
  • Customize everything: Unlike a template set in stone, these are designed to let you customize almost every little aspect of the output, calculations and behavior.
  • Beautiful & Informative: These templates are designed with a delicate balance of beauty & insight. Everything is seamlessly designed, perfectly aligned and precisely calculated so that you & your boss can focus on the insights & decisions. Time tested and well honored visualization principles & guidelines are observed thru-out the reports.
  • Built for starters, built for pros: Whether you are just starting with Excel or a seasoned pro, you can find the templates right up your alley. For advanced users, we have many customizations to whet your appetite. Want to build a custom calculation or include another type of sorting, you can do it by tinkering with ‘calculations’ sheet.


A better chart to visualize “Best places to live” – Top 100 cities comparison Excel chart

A better chart to visualize “Best places to live” – Top 100 cities comparison Excel chart

Recently, I saw this chart on Economist website.

It is trying to depict how various cities rank on livability index and how they compare to previous ranking (2014 vs 2009).

Best cities to live - Chart from Economist.com

As you can see, this chart is not the best way to visualize “Best places to live”.

Few reasons why,

  • The segregated views (blue, gray & red) make it hard to look for a specific city or region
  • The zig-zag lines look good, but incredibly hard to understand % changes (or absolute changes)
  • Labels are all over the place, thus making data interpretation hard.
  • Some points have no labels (or ambiguous labels) leading to further confusion.

After examining the chart long & hard, I got thinking.

Its no fun criticizing someones work. Creating a better chart from this data, now thats awesome.



ABC Inventory Analysis using Excel

ABC Inventory Analysis using Excel

ABC analysis is a popular technique to understand and categorize inventories. Imagine you are handling inventory at a plant that manufactures high-end super expensive cars. Each car requires several parts (4,693 to be exact) to assemble. Some of these parts are very costly (say few thousand dollars per part), while others are cheap (50 cents per part). So how do you make sure that your inventory tracking efforts are optimized so that you waste less time on 50 cent parts & spend more time on costly ones?

This is where ABC analysis helps.

We group the parts in to 3 classes.

  • Class A: High cost items. Very tight control & tracking.
  • Class B: Medium cost items. Tight control & moderate tracking.
  • Class C: Low cost items. No or little control & tracking.

Given a list of items (part numbers, unit costs & number of units needed for assembly), how do we automatically figure which class each item belongs to?

And how do we generate above ABC analysis chart from it?



Mapping relationships between people using interactive network chart

Mapping relationships between people using interactive network chart

Today, lets learn how to create an interesting chart. This, called as network chart helps us visualize relationships between various people.

Demo of interactive network chart in Excel

First take a look at what we are trying to build.

Looks interesting? Then read on to learn how to create this.



A dashboard to visualize this FIFA worldcup [guest post]

A dashboard to visualize this FIFA worldcup [guest post]

This is a guest post by Krishna, a football lover & one of our readers.

The wait for lifting the most valued priced in football for Germans was finally over. For a football fan, world cup is best time that is scheduled every four years and that if your favorite team lifting the trophy is like your crush is going on a date with you. :)

A sneak-peek at the final dashboard

Here is the final dashboard (it has more functionality than depicted). Click on it to enlarge.

FIFA 2014 Worldcup Excel dashboard



Story of my first ever 200KM bike ride (plus an Excel dashboard with ride stats)

Story of my first ever 200KM bike ride (plus an Excel dashboard with ride stats)

Ok people. Let me tell you that this post is almost not about Excel. It is about how one Excel blogger’s (yours truly) dream of long distance cycling came true. So sit back, grab your favorite drink and read between sips.

So what is this all about?

Last Sunday (27th July) & Monday (28th), I finished my first ever 200KM bicycle ride. I rode for a little more than 12 hours, burned 5,179 calories & rode 206 kilometers.

It is definitely one of the most memorable, tiresome & uplifting experiences in my life. So naturally, I want to share the story with you.



How fireworks animated chart is made [video tutorial]

How fireworks animated chart is made [video tutorial]

On July 4th this year, I published an animated fireworks chart for you. Many of you liked it. Quite a few wanted to know how its made.

So here is a video explaining the construction of fireworks.

(You can see this video on our YouTube Channel too)



CP014: How to create awesome dashboards – 10 step process for you

CP014: How to create awesome dashboards – 10 step process for you

In the 14th session of Chandoo.org podcast, lets figure out how to make awesome dashboards.

What is in this session?

Excel based dashboards are much in demand these days, thanks to advancements in Excel & growing pressure on costs. Now a days, analysts & managers are expected to quickly put together a dashboard using Excel. But how do you make a dashboard? What process you should follow? These are the questions we address in this podcast.

In this podcast, you will learn,

  • Announcements about upcoming dashboard classes
  • Ten step process for creating awesome dashboards
  • 1. Talk to your end users
  • 2. Make a sketch of the dashboard
  • 3. Validate your understanding
  • 4. Collect data
  • 5. Structure the data


Winners of state migration dashboard contest

Winners of state migration dashboard contest

Finally the wait is over. Here are the winners of our 2014 dashboard contest. Check them out.



4th of July Fireworks – an Excel animation for you

4th of July Fireworks – an Excel animation for you

To all our readers & friends from USA,

I wish you a happy, fun & safe 4th of July.

For the last 4th of July (2013), we (Jo, kids & I) were in USA. We went to Washington DC to meet up a few friends for that weekend. And we had one of the most memorable evenings of our lives when we went to national mall area in the evening to watch beautifully choreographed fireworks. Kids really loved the amazing display of fire-crackers and enthusiasm.

While we all are back in India this time, it doesn’t mean we cant celebrate 4th of July. So I made some fireworks. In Excel of course.

Here is a little Excel animation I made for all of us.

4th of July Fireworks – Excel animation

First watch this quick demo (<15 secs)



CP013: Is this a FIFA worldcup of late goals, lets ask Excel [How to analyze data to answer questions like these…]

CP013: Is this a FIFA worldcup of late goals, lets ask Excel [How to analyze data to answer questions like these…]

In the 13th session of Chandoo.org podcast, lets turn our attention to on-going FIFA worldcup and ask an important question.

What is in this session?
A week ago, we discussed “Has it been a late goal FIFA worldcup?” and used various charts & analysis techniques to answer the question. In podcast, lets tackle the same problem, understand various approaches to answer questions like these & shares some lessons for all the analysts.