14 Basic Skills for Chart Makers (Big question: How many do you have?)
Blame John Walkenbach if you don’t like this post. There, I said it.
Debra added her 14 cents by writing 14 basic skills for excel users.
I got jittery and quickly searched 14 basic skills for people writing 14 basic skills posts on google. Alas! nothing found. But being the inveterate non-give-upper I went ahead and prepared my list.
<drum roll> here is the,
14 basic skills for people making charts (or graphs or plots or ok, you get the point)
- Know when to not make a chart
- Know the basic chart types – bar charts, line charts, scatter charts, bubble charts, pie charts, dot plots and more
- Know how to massage, pre-process, arm twist your data so that charts can be constructed
- Know formulas like vlookup, match, index, indirect so that you can get what you want
- Know what chart junk means and how to get rid of it
- Know the types of charts to avoid and the perils of using them
- Know how many and what colors to use. Understand concepts like contrast and repetition
- Know that keeping it simple is far more effective than keeping it complex
- Know that charts are stories and give priority accordingly.
- Know how to use chart templates
- Know charting concepts like dynamic charts, sparklines, tag clouds, combining 2 chart types etc.
- Know the limitations of tools and use the right ones for the occasion (excel for simple and easy graphs, manyeyes for complex visualizations, R for fun and elaborate stuff, Google spreadsheets for maps and organization charts etc.)
- Know that there are beautiful examples around us and learn from them [what your zoo can teach you about visualization]
- Know where to look when you are stuck – PeltierTech, PHD Charting Pages, Google.
Now, it is time for the big screaming question:
How many of these skills you have? Where do you think you should improve?
Please share with us below.
My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.
Thank you and see you around.
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