These posts and resources provide guidance on effective communication with your charts and graphs. Don't forget to have a look at some of the resources on the Books and Links page for additional support.
Get your data set whipped into shape. Accurate and clean data are basic necessities for a well-told tale.
- Use Excel to check for data quality issues.
Tell the Story
Got data? Not sure where to start, which chart(s) to select, how to choose colors, and other basic design pieces? Try these posts and resources.
- In What's the Story, Morning Glory?, there is an overview of the workflow associated with taking a data set through its paces.
- Pick a Chart...But Not Any Chart: A basic introduction to the Chart Chooser from the Extreme Presentation Blog. The Chart Chooser is free to download, available in multiple languages, and also has an interactive version. You can also look through a gallery of chart options from the Data Visualization Catalogue or the Periodic Table of Visualization.
- I have shared information about my own design process in posts about the Anatomy of a Design Build and the Agony and the Ecstasy associated with making choices when I am building data visualizations in Excel.
Show the Data
When we summarize data, either through descriptive statistics or through basic visuals like bar and line charts, we can miss some of the nuance present within the data. There are ways, however, for you to represent the full data set in one chart. Here are three ways to get started.
- Use bump(s) charts with multiple lines to show change between individuals, instead of a summary line chart.
- Cluster charts organize data sets to reveal trends across multiple variables.
- Instead of bar charts, try scatter plots that show the full distribution of data points. These points can be coded to represent different attributes.
When Excel Gives You Lemons
Transform default charts in Excel with just a few clicks. Each post has a reference sheet you can download.