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Excel 2003: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Chart Types

Although there's a lot to be said for simple column charts—they can illuminate trends in almost any spreadsheet—there's nothing quite as impressive as successfully pulling off the exotic bubble chart. This section covers the wide range of charts that Excel offers. If you can use these specialized chart types when they make sense, you can convey more information, make your point more effectively, and add a little bit of flair to your workbook.

Note

The following sections explain all of the Excel chart types. To experiment on your own, try out the downloadable examples, which you can find on the "Missing CD" page at http://MissingManuals.com. The examples include worksheets that show most chart types. Remember, to change a chart from one type to another, just right-click it, and then select Chart Type.

Column

By now, column charts are probably seeming old hat. But column charts actually come in several different variations (technically known as subtypes). The main difference between the basic column chart and these subtypes is how they deal with data tables that have multiple series. The quickest way to understand the difference is to look at Figure 16-13, which shows the same data using several different subtypes.

Here's a quick summary of your column chart choices:

  • Clustered Column. In a clustered column, each value is shown in its own separate column. To form a cluster, the columns are grouped together according to category.

  • Stacked Column. In a stacked column, there ...

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