05 August 2013

Use Excel Charts To Visualize Data - New Demo

Excel iconThe Tips section earlier had some tutorials for Excel 2010, but now I have also created new ones for Excel 2013. One of them explains how graphs and diagrams can be used to illustrate data.

Visualize complex data
A chart is a diagram or graph that  visualizes numerical data. When they are correctly used, charts make it much easier to understand relationships and changes in large quantities of data. Good charts can make complex data accessible, as information can be taken in more quickly than the data that they are created from.

TimeCard versions

Changes over time can be shown with a line chart, and a pie chart is good for data that represents percentages. Bars or columns are excellent when you want to compare data and show relative sizes.
TimeCard versions

Charts can also be misused and create confusion or even be misleading. I am sure you have all sometimes looked at a chart in a newspaper or on a website and asked yourself what it is supposed illustrate. And I hope you don't fall for the commercial advertisements that show only the top of a bar graph to make very small changes look bigger than they actually are.

Excel pie chartLearn all options
To be able to use the correct chart for each type of data you need to learn the different kinds of graphs and diagrams. Then you know what the alternatives are and can judge which to use in each case.

My tutorial below is just a starter, but I illustrate how using the wrong chart can create overwhelming graphics that is even harder to understand than the original data. And of course I also suggest a better way of doing it!

Excel reports
Kanban Task Manager iconMost 2013 versions of our products give a possibility to create Excel reports on application data, and I hope users will take full advantage of all the possibilities Microsoft gives us in Excel. The default reports can be manipulated with the standard Excel features, Calendar Browser iconand you can also create custom reports on the data.

Kanban Task Manager for Outlook has 7 default reports, Calendar Browser has 12 and Folder HelpDesk as many as16. All reports are presented with both a table and a chart.Folder HelpDesk icon

In HelpDesk OSP, which uses SharePoint, we have chosen to give no default reports but instead let the users select in a dialog what SharePoint list and fields should be included in each report.
HelpDesk OSP icon
Welcome to watch the demo! In the Tips section you can find more tutorials on Excel and also on Outlook, SharePoint and other subjects.

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Manager Business Solutions