Chapter 4. Excel Charts for the Uninitiated

No other tool is more synonymous with dashboards and reports than your old friend, the chart Fast-paced business environments and new technologies have helped move charts from nice-to-have to a vital part of most business analyses. Charts offer instant gratification, allowing users to immediately see relationships, point out differences, and observe trends. No doubt about it; few mechanisms allow you to absorb data faster than a chart.

For those of you who have not yet been initiated to the world of Excel 2007 charting, this chapter gives you the basics of creating and customizing charts in Excel. This chapter also gives you a few best practices when it comes to creating charts for use in dashboards.

Chart Building Basics

Building a chart in Excel in and of itself is not a terribly difficult thing to do. The hard part is getting your mind around what types of chart to use and how best to display your data in a chart. While you go through each chapter of this book, you discover various imaginative ways to give these charts utility and functionality. For now, I start this look at building basic charts by reviewing the most-commonly-used chart types and discussing the customary ways each chart type is employed.

A review of the most-commonly-used chart types

Excel has 11 major chart types with variations on each type. For most business dashboards and reports, you need only a handful of the chart types available in Excel. Take a moment to review ...

Get Excel® 2007 Dashboards & Reports For Dummies® now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.