Anyone who has worked with Excel charts extensively has inevitably encountered the "hard to reach" scenario. That is, the formatting and configuration of your chart makes certain chart elements seemingly unreachable. Today, I'll show you a forehead-slapping trick that will both give you relief, and make you feel stupid at the same time.
Posts Tagged ‘Excel Charts’
Chart Data Tables are actually very useful for showing plotted values without inundating your audience with a gaggle of chart labels. I use them all the time.
My problem with them is that their uglier than a bag of lips. For all their usefulness, they sure do emit that "1997" feel. Luckily, Excel gives you a few options that help dial back the "ugly" on your chart Data Tables.
Last week, I was caught in a vortex of executive reviews, publishing deadlines, and other miscellaneous family stuff. (Note the placement and miscellaneous status given to "family stuff". This is why I'm going to die alone.)
In any case, during the executive review prep, we had a bit of a debate on how a certain set of data should be represented.
The basic idea is that we have a FY 2010 goal. Each month, we add values to get us to that goal. The question is how to show this on a chart.
A former student of mine wrote me an email with this chart attached. He points out that most of his charts show data plus some additional analysis that typically isn't plotted on the chart. In his example, he not only shows sales for each quarter, but also the % growth during the same quarter. No doubt he does this to avoid follow-on questions that will force him to talk to his manager.
Susan writes me and asks if there is a way to suppress zeros in chart labels.
"I have a chart that's dynamic in that I can choose a month that's represented. For each month, and Sales Rep, there are up to 5 possible revenue streams, but not every Sales Rep has revenue for all revenue streams each month. Is there a way to remove the zero values from the labels in my chart?"
I want to drive traffic to this site, so I better answer her question.
Ahh…data types; Currency, Number, Percent. What a joy to have such a diverse set of numerical variations designed to make your life hell.
Anyone who has had to handle varying numerical formats knows how tedious it can be to build a reporting structure that can handle all formats.
If you've ever built one chart for Percents, one for Currencies, and one for Numbers, then you're reading the right blog post.
Today, I'll to show you a technique that allows one chart to accurately show any data type.