All articles with 'dynamic charts' Tag

Narrating the story of change using Excel charts – case study


Here are three questions you often hear from your boss:

  1. What changes are happening in our business and how do they look?
  2. Do you know how to operate this new coffee machine?
  3. Why does every list has 3 items?

Jokes aside, our urge to find change in environment predates cave drawing, slice bread and Tommy Lee Jones. So, today let’s examine a very effective chart that tells the story of change and re-create it in Excel.

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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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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

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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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

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

Published on Jul 10, 2014 in Podcast Sessions, Charts and Graphs
CP014: How to create awesome dashboards – 10 step process for you

In the 14th session of 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
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CP011: 5 Excel magic tricks to impress your boss

Published on Jun 19, 2014 in Podcast Sessions
CP011: 5 Excel magic tricks to impress your boss

If you want to create magical effect with your Excel workbook (or report, dashboard, model), then hear no further. In this episode, we explore 5 very powerful magic tricks you can apply to get jaw dropping reactions from your bosses, clients & colleagues.

In this podcast, you will learn,

  • Annoucements
  • Why magic
  • 5 Excel Magic Tricks
  • 1: Conditional formatting
  • 2: Form controls + Charts
  • 3: Pivot tables + Slicers
  • 4: Macros + Automation
  • 5: Using right feature @ right time
  • How to learn these magic tricks
  • Conclusions
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Closing gaps in this Gender Equality Gap chart…

Published on Nov 5, 2013 in Charts and Graphs
Closing gaps in this Gender Equality Gap chart…

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.

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Last day for enrollments – Join our Power Pivot class & become awesome analyst

Published on Aug 16, 2013 in Power Pivot

Hurry up, Enrollments for Power Pivot online classes closing in few hours - Join nowHi folks,

I have a quick announcement & a creative dashboard to share with you. First the announcement.

Only few hours left to join our Power Pivot courseā€¦

As you may know, I have opened enrollments for our 2nd batch of Power Pivot course few days ago. The aim of this course is to make you awesome in Excel, Advanced Excel, Dashboards, Power Pivot & Advanced Power Pivot.

We will be closing the doors of this program at midnight, today (11:59 PM, Pacific time, Friday, 16th of August).

If you want to join us, click here and enroll now.

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How to create a Then vs. Now interactive chart in Excel?

Published on Aug 6, 2013 in Charts and Graphs
How to create a Then vs. Now interactive chart in Excel?

You have been there before.

Trying to compare last year numbers with this year, or last quarter with this quarter.

Today, let us learn how to create an interactive to chart to understand then vs. now.

Demo of Then vs. Now interactive chart

First, take a look the completed chart below. This is what you will be creating.

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Are you ready for 2,000 miles, 15 days & 10 Excel tips road trip?

Published on Jun 24, 2013 in Charts and Graphs, personal
Are you ready for 2,000 miles, 15 days & 10 Excel tips road trip?

Finally my Excel classes in USA are over. It was a lot of fun traveling to new cities, teaching Excel & dashboards to enthusiastic crowds and making new friends. As if that is not fun enough, we (Jo, kids & I) are going on a 2,000 mile, 2 week road trip starting today.

Although I am enjoying all this, I also feel bad for not taking enough time to share new tricks, ideas & techniques with you here. So, I have a wacky, wild & awesome plan for you. Join us on our road trip.

That is right. You can join me on our road trip and see what I see, learn some pretty cool Excel tricks, all while sipping coffee and stretching legs in the comfort of your office cubicle.

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How to create an Interactive Chart in Excel? [Tutorial]

Published on Apr 23, 2013 in Charts and Graphs, Excel Howtos
How to create an Interactive Chart in Excel? [Tutorial]

Imagine you have a worksheet with lots of charts. And you want to make it look awesome & clean.


Simple, create an interactive chart so that your users can pick one of many charts and see them.

Today let us understand how to create an interactive chart using Excel.

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How to create interactive calendar to highlight events & appointments [Tutorial]

Published on Apr 9, 2013 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel, VBA Macros
How to create interactive calendar to highlight events & appointments [Tutorial]

One of the popular uses of Excel is to maintain a list of events, appointments or other calendar related stuff. While Excel shines easily when you want to log this data, it has no quick way to visualize this information. But we can use little creativity, conditional formatting, few formulas & 3 lines of VBA code to create a slick, interactive calendar in Excel. Today, lets understand how to do this.

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There is an Easter egg in this chart!

Published on Mar 27, 2013 in Charts and Graphs
There is an Easter egg in this chart!

Do not worry, you are not time traveling or seeing things. Its just that, this year I have decided to publish our Easter Egg a few days early.

And oh, I have 3 reasons for it:

  1. 2 of my favorite festivals – Easter & Holi (a festival of colors, celebrated in India) are this week. Holi is today (Wednesday) & Easter on Sunday.
  2. My kids are super excited about Holi as this is the first time they will be playing it. So we have family time from today until Wednesday and I do not feel like writing a blog entry on Friday :)
  3. I like to have 3 reasons for everything.

Hence the Easter Egg is advanced a few days. But it is just as fun (or may be better) as previous Easter eggs.

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Designing a dashboard to track Employee vacations [case study]

Published on Jan 24, 2013 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel

Employee Vacation Dashboard & Tracker using Excel

HR managers & department heads always ask, “So what is the vacation pattern of our employees? What is our average absent rate?”

Today lets tackle that question and learn how to create a dashboard to monitor employee vacations.

What do HR Managers need? (end user needs)

There are 2 aspects tracking vacations.

1. Data entry for vacations taken by employees
2. Status dashboard to summarize vacation data

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