In This Chapter
Various ways in which a chart can be inaccurate
Potential problems related to using an inappropriate chart type
Stylistic and aesthetic considerations
A chart maker's checklist
In a perfect world, every chart you create is a work of art that communicates a message clearly, efficiently, and unambiguously. In the real world, of course, charts are subject to a wide variety of problems.
This chapter discusses some frequent problems related to charts, and it may help you avoid some common pitfalls — and create more effective charts.
Every chart has an audience or a potential audience. In some cases, the audience is only yourself. But in the majority of cases, the charts you produce will be viewed by others — in the context of your Excel workbook, or perhaps in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, Part of a printed report, or a Web page. The finished product (that is, the chart) should be geared toward its intended audience.
Key points to consider include the following:
The accuracy of the data: A chart can present data that is perfectly accurate, yet can be very misleading in a number of different ways.
The complexity of the information presented: A general rule of thumb: Those higher in the corporate pecking order typically desire more simple information. When you're faced with a decision to make a simple chart or a complex chart, a simpler chart is often the better choice. In some cases you ...