Timeline charts are great for providing quick snapshots of historical events. And hardly a day goes by without some one making a cool visualization of a time line of this or that. Time lines are easy to read, present information in a logical manner and mostly fun.
So yesterday, I set out to mimic the iconic gadgets of all time in excel, just for fun. Then it strike me, why not make a visual time line of Microsoft Excel ? So I did that instead.
Here is a brief history of Microsoft Excel, in a visual time line
As you can guess, the chart is made in Excel. Read on if you want to know how this is constructed.
- The basic time line construction is similar to the one shown in project timeline chart article.
- What you are seeing is a bar chart with some formatting. The bars are made invisible.
- We use 100% negative vertical error bars to show the leader lines.
- Data labels show the messages like “VisiCalc launched”
- To show the years, I have used another dummy series and plotted it on secondary axis (related: how to add secondary axis?)
- Once the basic timeline is ready, I have added various images (logos) to the chart by pasting them inside the chart and manually adjusting their positions.
- Rest of the work is anybody’s guess.
- If you are curious to know how this works, download the source files [Excel 2003 version, Excel 2007 version]
It is hard to imagine that it has been only 25 years since this beautiful tool took birth and shaped in to such a massive productivity application.
Source of information on History of Excel and Logos:
- Various excel versions and their information [Spreadsheet Page]
- History of spreadsheets and VisiCalc [DSS Resouces]
- Excel for Mac – Press Kit [Microsoft Press Pass]
- Excel Splash Screens – Right from version 1.0 [Guidebook Gallery]
Do you like this visualization? How would you improve this? Also, if you are an excel veteran, share your memories and experiences…
More visualization projects: