Close this search box.

Are you focusing on F word or S word? [Charting Principles]



When you are making a chart next time, spend just 5 minutes (or even less) on the formatting and give more time (may be 20 minutes) to think about the story.

Often we spend a lot of time fine tuning our chart formatting that we neglect the story. We fail to understand what the bars and lines mean. Most of the charts (even the real ugly ones) can be cleaned up and made presentable in a few minutes. Unless you are giving a keynote presentation about the next iPhone, I don’t think spending more time fine tuning formats is necessary. But even the simplest charts can often take hours of story-telling.

Thanks to newer and better versions of charting software, making pretty charts is an easy job. But telling compelling stories, alas, no software can match you.

Don’t confuse formatting with overall chart making process. You still need to spend sometime figuring out the right chart. That is why Jon and I have started the new chart doctor, where we take badly made charts and convert them to better charts so that it is easy to tell the story.

More naughty but very important charting lessons:

PS: The name chart doctor will be changed to something more sexier and wittier, thanks to the issue we faced. Know more from here, here, here and here.


Share this tip with your colleagues

Excel and Power BI tips - Chandoo.org Newsletter

Get FREE Excel + Power BI Tips

Simple, fun and useful emails, once per week.

Learn & be awesome.

Welcome to Chandoo.org

Thank you so much for visiting. My aim is to make you awesome in Excel & Power BI. I do this by sharing videos, tips, examples and downloads on this website. There are more than 1,000 pages with all things Excel, Power BI, Dashboards & VBA here. Go ahead and spend few minutes to be AWESOME.

Read my storyFREE Excel tips book

Excel School made me great at work.

– Brenda

Excel formula list - 100+ examples and howto guide for you

From simple to complex, there is a formula for every occasion. Check out the list now.

Calendars, invoices, trackers and much more. All free, fun and fantastic.

Advanced Pivot Table tricks

Power Query, Data model, DAX, Filters, Slicers, Conditional formats and beautiful charts. It's all here.

Still on fence about Power BI? In this getting started guide, learn what is Power BI, how to get it and how to create your first report from scratch.

Leave a Reply