Excel Graphics

Excel Graphics

 

 

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As you complete the analytics for a study of some kind, you will likely need to prepare a presentation of your findings – perhaps to middle or senior management. Your presentation time will likely be constrained to about 10 minutes, because of meeting time constraints and considering the other presentations that will also be scheduled at the meeting. It is important to convey your findings quickly and with little or no misunderstanding. Presenting with graphics is usually an excellent way to convey your findings. The presentation graphics should have the following qualities.

 

The graphic must be simple to understand. Someone in the meeting should be able to understand its message within 4-5 seconds of seeing it. This includes having a simple and short title and simple to read graphs.

 

Do not use red colors (which signal a problem), green colors (which signal all is OK), or yellow colors (which signal a possible problem) in the graphic unless the purpose of the graphic is to highlight those problems and successes.

 

Ensure that all fonts are large enough to been seen in the back of the room.

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BAR CHART EXAMPLE

 

Please develop a spreadsheet as you go through the following set of slides.

 

The owner of a small company of 26 employees wants to know how the employee degrees are distributed. After some analytics of HR data, the following recap table is built. Prepare a corresponding bar chart as a presentation graphic showing how many or each type of degree are held by employees.

15 K L M N O
16 Master’s Bachelor’s High School Grand Total
17 Grand Total 4 19 3 26

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Here is an example of a finished product. It is easy to understand quickly, and contains no red, yellow or green in the bars. Fonts are relatively large. This is not the only format; you are free to design the cosmetics of your graph basically as you choose.

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The below graph can be considered the completion of the first step of building a good presentation graphic. The next set of slides will show at least one way to generate this graph and then convert this “raw graph” into a presentation-quality graph.

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Follow the following steps to get from the table to the graph.

 

Go to the Excel ribbon and click on Insert/Column, and select the 2D Column format in the top center of the format options.

A popup should appear on the screen. It may be blank, or filled in. Excel may try to guess how you want the graphic to appear. It is usually incorrect.

If the popup is filled in, erase what is in there. Left click the center of the graph, and right click. Select “Select Data.” Then click on “Remove” to clear the popup.

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Now input the data for the graph.

 

Left click the “Add” button. This will eventually populate the y-axis values. The following popup will appear, although it should be blank.

Type in some name for the data that will appear in the graph legend.

Go to “Series values” and highlight the spreadsheet cells which have the number of degrees from slide 3 (columns L through M, row 17).

Click “OK.”

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Your graph should look much like this one as the first step is complete.

The data is properly shown. Now to add cosmetics to transform this raw graph into a presentation graphic. First, move the chart into its own worksheet tab: right click into a vacant area, and select “Move Chart.”

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Click on the button by “New Sheet,” click “OK,” and the chart will automatically move to a new worksheet. If you want to, you can name the sheet where the dialog box indicates “Chart1” by deleting “Chart1” and putting in a worksheet name convenient for you.

Move over to the new chart worksheet to add cosmetics. These actions can be done in any order you choose.

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Move the mouse onto the center of any bar and right click. Click on “Add Data Labels.” The graph should now have data labels on each bar. I have also formatted them in Bold and 12 pitch to make them easier to read from the back of a meeting room (go to any data label, left click, and them format as you would in Word or Excel).

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Move the mouse onto the blank area inside the graph, right click, and left click on “Format Plot Area.”

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This popup dialog box now appears. For the graph in this presentation, I clicked on “Solid fill” and then went down to “Color” and selected a light gray. You should click on each of these Fill options to see what Excel provides. Take about 3-5 minutes now to do so. You may prefer to choose different options.

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My graph now looks like this. Yours should be similar although your cosmetics preference my be different than mine.

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