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Data at Work: Best practices for creating effective charts and information graphics in Microsoft® Excel® by Jorge Camões

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7. How to Choose a Chart

We’ve already met many of the actors of our visual theater. Now it’s time to introduce them more formally.

In Chapter 1, we defined “chart type” as a set of standardized transformations applied to the data points in the “proto-chart.” We have complete freedom in the way we use the data points. Line segments connect points to make a line chart; rectangles connect points to the axis to make a bar chart. Whatever the result of these changes, there is a difference between seeing the chart and interpreting it. The audience may not always be able (or have the interest) to decode a new chart type and may prefer a familiar one.

We also saw in Chapter 1 that there can be significant differences in the effectiveness of two charts. ...

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