All articles with 'charting' Tag

Changing stubborn opinions with visualizations [case study]

Published on May 29, 2015 in Charts and Graphs
Changing stubborn opinions with visualizations [case study]

We, analysts take pride in the fact that we tell stories. But what if you have a boss, client or colleague who wouldn’t buy the story?

This is a problem we face often. Let’s say your boss has stubborn opinion about something, like more advertising leads to more sales. You know the data doesn’t support this theory. But how do you change your boss’ mind?

Here is an interesting way, showcased in NY Times recently.

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Use arrow keys to select small, unreachable chart series [quick tip]

Published on Apr 30, 2015 in Charts and Graphs
Use arrow keys to select small, unreachable chart series [quick tip]

Here is a fairly annoying problem.

Imagine a chart showing both sales & customer data. Sales numbers are large and customer numbers are small. So when you make a chart with both of these, selecting the smaller series (customers) becomes very difficult.

In such cases, you can use arrow keys – as shown above.

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CP032: Rules for making legendary column charts

Published on Apr 2, 2015 in Chandoo.org Podcast Sessions, Charts and Graphs
CP032: Rules for making legendary column charts

In the 32nd session of Chandoo.org podcast, let’s make legendary column charts.

What is in this session?

Column charts are everywhere. As analysts, we are expected to create flawless, strikingly beautiful & insightful column charts all the time. Do you know the simple rules that can help you create legendary column charts?

That is our topic for this podcast session.

In this podcast, you will learn

  • Few personal announcements
  • Rule 0: Start at zero
  • Rule 1: Sort the chart
  • Rule 2: Slap a title on it
  • Rule 3: Axis + grid-lines vs. Lables
  • Rule 4: Moderate formatting
  • Conclusions
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Celebrate Holi with this colorful Excel file

Published on Mar 6, 2015 in Charts and Graphs, VBA Macros
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

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CP031: Invisibility Tricks – How to make things disappear in Excel?

Published on Mar 5, 2015 in Chandoo.org Podcast Sessions
CP031: Invisibility Tricks – How to make things disappear in Excel?

In the 31st session of Chandoo.org podcast, let’s disappear.

What is in this session?

Spreadsheets are complex things. They have outputs, calculation tabs, inputs, VBA code, from controls, charts, pivot tables and occasional picture of hello kitty. But when it comes to making a workbook production ready, you may want to hide away few things so it looks tidy.

That is our topic for this podcast session.

In this podcast, you will learn

  • Quick announcements first anniversary of our podcast etc.
  • Hiding cells, rows, columns & sheets
  • Hiding chart data points
  • On/off effect with form controls, conditional formatting
  • Making objects, charts, pictures disappear
  • Disabling grid-lines, formula bar & headings
  • Hiding things in print
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Revenue vs. Commission growth – Getting the message across [BYOD]

Published on Feb 17, 2015 in Analytics, Charts and Graphs

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”?

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

Published on Feb 5, 2015 in Chandoo.org Podcast Sessions, Charts and Graphs
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
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Creating In-cell charts with markers for average (or target) values

Published on Dec 3, 2014 in Charts and Graphs
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.

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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.

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Mapping relationships between people using interactive network chart

Published on Aug 13, 2014 in Charts and Graphs
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.

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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.

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How fireworks animated chart is made [video tutorial]

Published on Jul 17, 2014 in Charts and Graphs, VBA Macros

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)

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4th of July Fireworks – an Excel animation for you

Published on Jul 4, 2014 in Charts and Graphs, VBA Macros

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)

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

Published on Jul 3, 2014 in Chandoo.org Podcast Sessions, Charts and Graphs
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.

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A quick Excel tip for you while on a long bike trip…,

Published on Jul 1, 2014 in Charts and Graphs

Hi friends,

I have a surprise for you. Between the late night world-cup matches & my reinvigorated thirst for biking, I have difficulty finding time to write a long & detailed article for you. So I thought why not say hello to you and share an Excel tip while I am on a biking trip.

Go ahead and check it out. Its just 4 minutes.

Watch it below or on our YouTube channel.

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