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

Contest: Visualize KPI data

Contest: Visualize KPI data

Here is a quick visualization challenge for you.

There are 25 KPIs and each has a base value, current month, corresponding month values. The KPIs also have targets.

The data looks like this:
kpi-contest-data

Download the data:

Click here to download the data for this contest.

Rules for this contest:

  • Visualize this data using one Excel chart (one chart per KPI is ok too).
  • You may omit any any data
  • You can use interactive charts.
  • Do not use add-ins or VBA to make your charts

Go ahead and make your chart(s).



CP046: Gantt charts & project planning using Excel

CP046: Gantt charts & project planning using Excel

In the 46th session of Chandoo.org podcast, let’s talk about gantt charts and project plans.

What is in this session?

In this podcast,

  • A brief intro to Excel 2016
  • What is a Gantt chart?
  • How Gantt charts can help us?
  • How to create Gantt charts in Excel
    • Using bar charts with invisible series
    • Using conditional formatting and formulas
    • Using ready-made templates
  • Resources on Gantt charts & project planning
  • Conclusions


How countries spend their money – chart alternatives

How countries spend their money – chart alternatives

Econimist’s daily chart is a one of my daily data porn stops. They take interesting data sets and visualize in compelling ways. While the daily chart page is insightful, sometimes they make poor charting choices. For example, this recent chart visualizing how countries spend their money uses a variation of notorious bubble chart. Click on the chart to enlarge.

20150912_woc650_1

What is wrong with this chart?

Bubble charts force us to measure and compare areas of circles. Unless you have a measuring tape somehow embedded in your eyes and you are a walking human scientific calculator, you would find this task impossible.

So when you look at the chart and want to find out what percentage Japanese spend on restaurants or how much Americans pay for housing, your guesses will have large error margins.

Not only bubble charts are difficult to read, they are very hard to align. So when you have a bunch of bubbles, no matter how hard you try, your chart looks clumsy (see how the Russian food bubble eats in to Mexico’s bubble, as if it is too hungry 😉 )

Let’s check out a few alternatives to this chart. Read on…



Show forecast values in a different color with this simple trick [charting]

Show forecast values in a different color with this simple trick [charting]

Let’s say you made a chart to show actual and forecast values. By default, both values look in same color. But we would like to separate forecast values by showing them in another color.

If you are a seasoned Excel user, you may be thinking, “Oh, that’s easy. I will just create 2 sets of data (one for actual and one for forecast), make a chart from them and apply separate colors.”

But here is a really simple way to get the same effect.

Use a semi-transparent box to mask the forecast values, as shown above. Read on to learn how to do this.



Cropped chart: when some values are too big to fit

Cropped chart: when some values are too big to fit

We know that column charts are excellent for presenting information. But what if some of the columns are too tall and hijacking the rest. In a previous article, we discussed few of the approaches. Today let’s learn how to build a cropped chart (broken y-axis chart) using Excel, something like above.

Looks interesting? Read on.



Book Announcement: Dashboards for Excel is launching on 15th September

Book Announcement: Dashboards for Excel is launching on 15th September

I have an exciting announcement to share with you. My first ever print book – Dashboards for Excel, co-authored with Jordan Goldmeier is releasing on 15th September.

Dashboards for Excel – what is it?

As the name suggests this book is a handy guide for anyone preparing dashboards, management reports and business intelligence workbooks using Excel. The key benefits are,

  • Learn the visualization tools, charts, tables, and graphs important to management.
  • Understand what management doesn’t want to see in a report
  • Turn around dashboards faster and cheaper than ever before
  • Understand the key role dashboards play in an organization
  • Analyze real-world dashboards to apply important features to your own organization
  • Utilize understated, but powerful, Excel formulas and VBA code
  • Avoid common pitfalls in Excel development and dashboard creation
  • Get started with the Excel data model, PowerPivot, and Power Query

As you can see, this is an advanced Excel book with lots of examples, case studies and practical tips.



Make a quick funnel chart in Excel to track sales performance [video]

Make a quick funnel chart in Excel to track sales performance [video]

Funnel charts are useful to visualize sales & marketing performance. In this brief video, let’s understand how to make a quick funnel chart in Excel.

Read on to learn how to make funnel charts & to download a template for your funnel analysis needs.



Dashboard best practice: Highlight user selection [video]

Dashboard best practice: Highlight user selection [video]

Here is a best practice to improve your dashboard usability. If you have an interactive dashboard, highlight user selections thru conditional formatting.

Check out below quick video to understand what this means.



Give descriptive titles to your charts for best results

Give descriptive titles to your charts for best results

Here is a simple & effective tip on charting.

Give your charts descriptive & bold titles.

How to set up title that are smart & descriptive?

Simple, follow below steps.

  1. Create the title you want in a cell
  2. Select the chart title
  3. Go to formula bar, press = and point to the cell with title
  4. Press enter.


In-cell 5 star chart – tutorial & template

In-cell 5 star chart – tutorial & template

Whenever we talk about product ratings & customer satisfaction, 5 star ratings come to our mind. Today, let’s learn how to create a simple & elegant 5 star in-cell chart in Excel. Something like above.

Read on to learn how to create the above chart.



Work with charts faster using selection pane & select object tools [quick video tip]

Work with charts faster using selection pane & select object tools [quick video tip]

Working with multiple charts (or drawing shapes / images) can be a very slow process. But here is a secret to boost your productivity.

Use selection pane & select object tools

Selection Pane & Select Objects?

If you have never heard of these, don’t worry. These are 2 very powerful features hidden in Excel. Once you know how to unlock them, you will never look back.

How to use selection pane & select object tools to work with charts faster – Video

In this video, understand how to use these powerful features to work with charts faster.



Make bar charts in original order of data for improved readability [charting tip]

Make bar charts in original order of data for improved readability [charting tip]

To make friends in a new town hit the bars – Old saying.
To make sense of a new data-set, make bar charts – New saying.

Bar charts (or column charts if you like your data straight up) are vital in data analysis. They are easy to make. But one problem. By default, a bar chart show the original data in reverse order.

See the above example.

Unfortunately, we humans read from top to bottom, not the other way around.



Use shapes to enhance your Excel charts [tip]

Use shapes to enhance your Excel charts [tip]

Here is a simple way to enhance your Excel charts – use shapes & pictures in your charts.

We will learn how to create something like above.

Looks interesting? Read on…



CP041: 6 charts you’ll see in hell – v2.0

CP041: 6 charts you’ll see in hell – v2.0

In the 41st session of Chandoo.org podcast, Let’s take a trip to data hell and meet 6 ugly, clumsy, confusing charts. I am revisiting a classic Chandoo.org article – 6 Charts you will see in hell.

What is in this session?

In this podcast,

  • Quick announcement about Awesome August
  • 6 charts you should avoid
  • 3D charts
  • Pie / donut charts with too many slices
  • Too much data
  • Over formatting
  • Complex charts
  • Charts that don’t tell a story
  • Conclusions


How to create dynamic sparklines for latest 30 days [video]

How to create dynamic sparklines for latest 30 days [video]

Sparklines are fun and very insightful. They are easy to create, easy to maintain and fit into any dashboard.

But there is one tiny problem with them. Usually we have a lot of data, but we don’t to visualize all of it. We just want to visualize latest 30 days trend or last 12 months trend or QTD or something similar. What then?

In this video, learn a powerful and very simple way to create dynamic sparklines using Excel.



Shading an area chart with different colors for up & down movements [case study]

Shading an area chart with different colors for up & down movements [case study]

We all know that area charts are great for understanding how a list of values have changed over time. Today, let’s learn how to create an area chart that shows different colors for upward & downward movements.

The inspiration for this came from a recent chart published in Wall Street Journal about Chinese stock markets.

We will try to create a similar chart using Excel. We are going to create the above chart in Excel.

Looks interesting? Read on…



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, data science, 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, what we need is 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?”



CP038: Data to Ink Ratio – What is it, How to optimize it, Techniques & Discussion

CP038: Data to Ink Ratio – What is it, How to optimize it, Techniques & Discussion

In the 38th session of Chandoo.org podcast, Let’s optimize data to ink ratio of your charts.

What is in this session?

In this podcast,

  • Announcements
  • What is Data to Ink Ratio?
  • Obvious ways to optimize Data to Ink Ratio
  • More ways to optimize Data to Ink ratio
  • Highlighting what is important
  • Conclusions


15 Quick & powerful ways to analyze business data

15 Quick & powerful ways to analyze business data

Here is a situation all too familiar.

You are looking at a spreadsheet full of data. You need to analyze and tell a story about it. You have little time. You don’t know where to start.

Today let me share 15 quick, simple & very powerful ways to analyze business data. Ready? Let’s get started.



CP036: How to do trend analysis using Excel?

CP036: How to do trend analysis using Excel?

In the 36th session of Chandoo.org podcast, Let’s follow the trend.

What is in this session?

In this podcast,

  • A quick trip to down under
  • What is trend analysis
  • 4 types of common trends
    • linear
    • curve
    • cyclical
    • strange
  • Doing trend analysis in Excel – the process
  • How to use trend analysis results
  • Conclusions