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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.
Whether you're in a hurry to create a chart or you're just a casual chart user, applying the final touches to the chart requires just a few commands that you can do quickly. So you really don't have to spend a lot of time tweaking a chart. Now, sometimes you might want to, but let's just review the idea of creating a chart, making a couple of changes, and in effect say 'this is complete'. It's good enough for the presentation or the printed page. In the example here I'm going to be highlighting on this chart datasheet this data right here. I want to create a chart. We will use the standard technique, Insert from the Ribbon. How about a column chart this time. Clustered Column. There we are.
Now what does these chart lack in another words for presentation or on paper? We see numbers. We see the colors. We see a legend. It looks pretty good, but what do the numbers mean? And what year is this? What company is this? And so on. So I think a quick suggestion here in terms of what we need would be a title on top, something to explain the numbers, and maybe nothing else. The title might include a year. There are a lot of different approaches here. We're ignoring for the moment the idea that maybe we don't like the colors, or maybe the line should be darker, or maybe they shouldn't be there. There are all kinds of things we could do with the chart. But let's just say after creating the chart, we could have done this with the keystroke shortcut. I happened to use in this case the menu approach, but in both cases we've got some shortcomings.
Let's deal with them directly. Probably the fastest way, and we'll see this in more detail later, is simply to say let's add titles. The Layout tab offers us one way to do this, and we see Chart Title. There it is, Chart Title, Centered Overlay Title, Above Chart, either way. How about Above Chart, right there? Obviously, that's not the exact title we want. Why don't we just, for example, say Sales-2010. There it is. How about a title on the left-hand side? Is that an obvious choice? Well, maybe not obvious, but Axis Titles. Click it.
The Vertical Axis Title and rotate it. That probably would make sense. Rotate it down on the left-hand side. Now it doesn't say all that, but that's what we want to do. Rotated Title and we see Axis Title. And more or less what we want to say is what we're seeing in row two. And how about Millions of Dollars, or Sales in Millions? Something like that. Or just Millions of Dollars. Enter. There is the data. Although there are many other things we could do with this chart, for a lot of us, that's perfect. That just says what we want to say.
We will worry about that colors later and all those kinds of changes that we could make. The chart shows us the information. The legend clearly defines what the color means. We see that's it in million of dollars. It's for the year 2010. What else do we need to know? If it's within the same company, we would only mean to name the company. We could have a title below the month at the bottom of the screen. Probably not necessary here. So despite all the numerous adjustments you can make to a chart, making a chart "complete" only takes a few steps.
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