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In this course, Dennis Taylor shows how to analyze and communicate the value of data with charts in Excel. The course starts with the foundations: what the parts of a chart are, what the different types of charts are, and which charts work best for your data. The course then shows how to create a presentation-ready chart in minutes and offers dozens of in-depth tutorials on formatting and fine-tuning charts so they represent data clearly and accurately.
No matter which method you use to create a chart, adjusting a chart's layout is often the critical step too, and the Chart Layout options provide you with quick techniques to complete this vital phase. Remember, the term is Chart Layout. As I click on this chart here to the right of the data, even though we are on the Design tab, the key phrase Chart Layout and the associated boxes that we are about to see are located on the Design tab. When you've created a chart and you're in a bit of a hurry and want to make sure that it has got its titles and legend where you want them to be and you want the appropriate explanatory information in place, the drop arrow right here in the Chart Layout group--this is on the Design tab--will give you some choices.
And the number of different variations will change with the chart type. So currently, it's a clustered column chart, and I'm going to click the drop arrow. And my first thought when I saw this years ago was, why aren't these bigger? And I think the rationale is that if they were bigger then it would overlap perhaps the chart that we're looking at. Now I think it could be a still little bit better, but what do we see here? I don't think it's very obvious at first. But as you look at these 11 choices--and notice how they have names like Layout 6, Layout 5, et cetera-- get used to the idea that many of them have a stripe across the top, meaning it will give you space to put in a title and a box for it.
A number of them will give you a similar place for a title down the left-hand side. You'll see a bar there on many of these. You also see the legend most often on the right, but in some cases, not obvious at first, but below the data, or in some cases not here at all. So you'll have to experiment with these a little bit. Some of them have gridlines. Some of them don't. Some of them appear to have labels on them. And without necessarily taking the time to explore all nine of them or 11 of them or 13 of them, depending upon the chart type, maybe pick one.
That one doesn't appeal to me. I'm seeing those numbers off to the right. I am going to try another one. So again, up here, click the drop arrow. Maybe I'll go to this one right here. Now notice what happened there: It made the columns all wider so there are no gaps between them. It did give us room for a title on the top, which we will need to change, also down the left-hand side and underneath, but no legend. Now you can manually add the legend but maybe better, let's go back to other chart layouts. So the idea is I think you'll quickly develop a favorite or two here.
Mine happens to be this one right here, Layout number 9. I'll click this one. It does put the legend on the right-hand side. It provides room for a title on the bottom, top, and left side. By the way, you don't need to use all these titles if you don't want them. So I am going to click the title below this. I don't need that one. Just click its border and press Delete. But I do want a title up top, so click there, highlight the text, and type in 'Two Trees Olive Oil', the name of the company, or something. Or maybe put in the year along with it, or maybe as row 2 suggests, Sales.
We can actually put the 'millions of dollars' perhaps down the left-hand side. So maybe we'll just put in the year, name of the company, whatever we want to do here. How about just 'Sales'? Maybe everything is within the company anyway, 'Sales-2011'. Good enough. Click over on the other title; Axis title here. Instead of that, how about 'Millions of Dollars'? It's up to you to decide how explanatory that is. As I press Enter here, we see it that way. So you can enter it different ways. And maybe that's enough.
Now again, I would encourage you to experiment with chart layouts and if, for example, I were to change this to a bar chart-- Change Chart Type and I'll choose Bar, this one-- it looks like this. Maybe I am not too wild about the look, although it is very similar. This time I'll go to Chart Layouts and instead of having 11 choices, we have only 10. I am not sure why, but nevertheless, some different layout choices here. Maybe I'll try this one. I don't like that one. Maybe we'll try this one. That puts what's called a data table underneath it.
So this does give you this quick ability to choose a standard kind of layout, like it or don't. Later as you learn to tweak different parts of a chart, you might start with one of these, and then make certain adjustments that you'd make normally and then proceed from there. So I think it's a good starting point, a good step, too, after creating the chart, to clean it up, put in the titles you need, and then take it from there. It's easy to use and easy to get to. After creating a chart, you can quickly complete many of the missing features via this technique.
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