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Excel® Dashboards & Reports by John Walkenbach, Michael Alexander

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Chapter 4. Understanding Chart Types

In This Chapter

  • Types of charts Excel can generate

  • Examples of each chart type

  • Creating and using chart templates

If you are an experienced professional, you've probably been exposed to many types of charts: bar charts, line charts, pie charts, and so on. Excel supports all these common chart types and even some esoteric chart types, such as radar charts and doughnut charts.

This chapter explores each of these chart types, along with information that may help you determine which type of chart can best display your data.

Conveying a Message with a Chart

People who create charts usually do so to make a point or to communicate a specific message. Often, the message is explicitly stated in the chart's title or in a text box within the chart. The chart itself provides visual support for the message.

Choosing the correct chart type is often a key factor in making the message compelling. Therefore, it's often well worth your time to experiment with various chart types to determine which one is most effective.

In almost every case, the underlying message in a chart is some type of comparison. Examples of some general types of comparisons include the following:

  • Compare items: A chart may compare sales volume in each of a company's sales regions.

  • Compare data over time: A chart may display sales amounts by month, to indicate a trend over time.

  • Make relative comparisons: A common pie chart can depict relative values in terms of pie slices.

  • Compare data relationships: ...

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