All articles with 'charting principles' Tag
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
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).
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.Continue »
In the 4th session of Chandoo.org podcast, lets talk about Pie charts.
Pie charts evoke strong opinions among analysts & managers. Some people love them and can’t have enough of them in reports. Others despise them and go to any lengths to avoid them. And that is why we are going to talk about them in this session.
You will learn,
- Special, secret transmission from guest stars
- What is a pie chart?
- Why they work? 2 reasons
- Why they don’t work ? 4 reasons
- Cousins & siblings of Pie charts
- Donut charts
- Gauge charts (speedometer)
- 3D pies
- Area charts
- Bubble charts
- 4 Situations when making a pie chart is ok
- Alternatives to Pie charts
- Mistakes you should avoid
- About the resources
Back when I was working as a project lead, everyday my project manager would ask me the same question.
“Chandoo, whats the progress?”
He was so punctual about it, even on days when our coffee machine wasn’t working.
As you can see, tracking progress is an obsession we all have. At this very moment, if you pay close attention, you can hear mouse clicks of thousands of analysts and managers all over the world making project progress charts.
So today, lets talk about best charts to show % progress against a goal.Continue »
Today lets take a stroll outside what Excel can do and make something fancy, fun and may be useful.
Nowadays, many newspapers, websites and magazines are featuring info-graphics. An info-graphic is a collection of shiny, colorful & data-full charts (or often pieces of text.) In many of these info-graphics, you can see threaded-donut charts. Not sure what that is..? It is not same as the blasphemy of spoiling a soft, sweet, supple donut with a piece of string. No one should be excused for an offense like that.
What I am talking about is shown aboveContinue »
Today lets have a poll. Lets debate if this pie chart about world elections in 2014 is good or bad.
First lets take a look at the chart
This chart, published by The Economist talks about how 42% of the world population is going to vote this year. Take a look and read on to learn how you can re-create this in Excel.Continue »
Today lets close some gaps.
Recently I saw this interesting chart on Economist Daily Charts page. This chart is based on World Economic Forum’s survey on how women compare to men in terms of various development parameters. First take a look at the chart prepared by Economist team.
So what are the gaps in this chart?
This chart fails to communicate because,
- All country charts look same, thus making it difficult to spot any deviations.
- We cannot quickly compare one country with another on any particular indicator.
- It does not provide a better context (for eg. how did these countries perform last year?)
But criticizing someone’s work is not awesome. Fixing it and making an even better chart, that has awesome written all over it. So that is what we are going to do. You can see the improved chart above. Click on it to learn how you can create it.Continue »
For every column chart that is done right, there are a dozen that get messed up. That is why lets talk about 5 simple rules for making awesome column charts.
Tip: Same rules apply for bar charts too.Continue »
Pop quiz: What is wrong with above report?
At first glance, it looks alright. But if you observe closely, you realize that it is not telling the entire story. Just looking at regional sales numbers, you have not much clue what is going on with them.
So how to improve it?Continue »
Are you making these 10 rookie mistakes when creating dashboards?
Watch below to video to understand what these mistakes and how to avoid them.
10 Rookie mistakes to avoid when making dashboards [23 mins]Continue »
Recently I saw a big screaming ad that said “the chartbuster rules”. Of course, I know that chartbusters rule. Not just because I was one of them
So I got curious and read on. And I realized the ‘chartbuster’ is actually a car, not some cool, spreadsheet waving, goatee sporting dude like Jon Peltier. What a bummer!
And then to my horror of horrors, I saw the exploding 3d pie chart, with reflection effects & glossy colors. And the sole purpose of the chart is to create an impression that Verna sells better than any car in India.
Today, lets talk about this chart and alternatives for it. Read on.Continue »
Lets say you are responsible for sales of 100s of products (which belong to handful of categories). You are looking at sales of each product in last month & this month. And you want to understand whether sales are improving or declining by category. How would you do it?
Turns out, this is not a difficult problem. In fact, this question is asked every day & answered using Advances vs. Declines chart.
You may have seen this chart in financial newspapers or websites. Shown above, Advances vs. Declines chart tells us how many items have advanced & how many have declined.
Read on to learn how to create this chart using Excel.Continue »
If I need some charting inspiration, I always visit New York Times. Their interactive visualizations are some of the best you can find anywhere. Clear, beautifully crafted and powerful. Long time readers of Chandoo.org knew that I like to learn from visualizations in NY Times & redo them using Excel.
Today let me present you one such chart. This is based on an interactive visualization prepared by NY Times explaining how the tax burden has changed over years for various income groups.
Take a look at tax burden chart – Excel implementation
Read on to learn how to create this chart using Excel.Continue »
There are some charts that look so stunning and yet confusing. You cant make up your mind whether it tells a compelling story or it is just plain wrong.
Today, let me present you one such chart. I call this Pie of a Pie of a Pie chart.Continue »
Today, lets talk about indexing, a technique used to compare changes in values over time.
What is indexing?
Lets say you want to compare prices of Gold & Coffee over last few years. Gold price in 2011 (oct) is $1,655 per ounce. And now (sept 2012) it is $1,744. Like wise, Silver price in 2011 is $32.06 and in 2012 it is $33.61. How do we compare such diverse numbers?
First we need to calculate price of Gold and Silver in 2012 assuming their starting price is 100. This can be done with simple arithmetic.
Now, we can easily compare the prices. Looking at the indexed prices, we can conclude that both Gold & Silver prices have gone up by similar percentage (~5%).Continue »