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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.
Although less commonly needed by most Excel chart users, area charts, stock charts, and XY charts--sometimes called scattered charts--are specialized chart types ideal for some sets of data. On the screen we are looking at a sheet called AreaChart. The data represents about 30 months of data for US Sales and Other Sales, and we would like to share this information possibly as a column chart, line chart, or an area chart. For some people an area chart is a variation on the line chart. Let's take a look at how it might look with this data.
We want all the contiguous data used in the chart, so all we need to do is click on the single cell here. In the Ribbon, we will click on Insert. There is the choice Area. Insert an area chart, and the first choice, although it doesn't say clustered, is somewhat like the clustered charts that we see with column, meaning it's not a Stacked variation. We see that one here and then the 100%. Let's choose the regular area chart right here. Here is the data we see. Think of the data perhaps in layers. We can see all of the data for Other Sales.
The blue data representing US Sales is in the background. So you can just check out a number or two here. The really high entry we see there for October 2010, 22 million, that's the total for US Sales. In front of it Other Sales, about 13 million. So this might be ideal. A possible visual change here might make it look little bit better. Under Chart Styles in the Ribbon, on the Design tab, perhaps one of these that gives us sort of 3D-like look. If you like to see this in its stacked variation, on the Design tab, left button, change to Chart Type the option for a Stacked Area chart.
Double-clicking looks like this. So now we are seeing the total. So a high point here, for example, represents the total of 22 million, and almost 14 million, roughly 36 million. We are seeing that total right here, reflecting the data coming out of row 29 here. So the two are stacked on top of one another, and that third variation, less likely to be used, but still it has its merits too, under Change Chart Type again, that left button, the Area type called Stacked 100% Stacked Area.
This, like our other two charts, might look better, and I think it will apply right now, on the Layout tab. How about some drop lines here? And we can see what's happening. So for any given point, say January 09 right here on this particular line, we can't see this exactly, but it's roughly 68% of our sales are coming from the US and the other 32% coming from Other Sales. So if we were looking at those numbers, we are talking about these two right here. What we see when we point here are not the percentage breakouts, but we can see it in the visual.
So overall, as we look at this, we could say in most months the US Sales are roughly two-thirds, five-eights of the total. Simply 100% percent breakout. So I think this gives a little more power, a little more oomph to it perhaps than a line short might. The same basic idea though. Now for certain kinds of data related to stock market activity, this particular sheet which shows Stock data for portion of April and May of 2011 does have the potential of showing High, Low, Close, and Open data, and possibly even volume, which is not seen here, but those are the components of what you might use in a stock chart.
In the example here, and if I click on the chart you will see, we're not showing open data, and off to the right you do see High, Low, Close. Now, the legend isn't that helpful here, except for the close part of it, and the green tick marks that we see here, which perhaps could be more prominent, do represent the closing price for the stock on a given day. When you do create these--I am going to go back and highlight the data again-- do we want to show all this or do we just want to show the High, Low, Close, Open? You've got some variations.
If you are selecting all of the data, as I am right now, you can go to the Insert tab, choose Other Charts right here, and we do come to Stock, notice that the first one is High-Low-Close. The second one is Open-High-Low-Close. So if I did want to show that, I'd click it right now, and we see that data shown this way. It's up to you to decide which of these is most useful. When you do make these choices, initially you're likely to see a gap here, which represents the fact that the stock market is closed on Saturday and Sunday.
So the dates are still represented. If that somehow isn't what you want to see, you could right-click here on the lower axis, format it, and then simply display this is as a text axis, and then it removes those weekend gaps. In the previous chart that was already created, those gaps are missing already. If you want to control the size of the tick marks or the thickness of lines, that's all doable by way of the Layout tab. The idea here might be if you want to close marks to be more dominant, the easiest way to do this is rather than trying to click on them, go to the Layout tab in the Ribbon and then on the far left, under Current Selection, click the drop arrow next to whatever might be appearing here, and choose a Series Close.
Then right below that choice, Format Selection. When you get here you've got control over some marker options here, and maybe the size of this isn't big enough. We'll make it bigger or smaller as you need, and you see what's happening off to the left there. And maybe it will accompany this also you might go to Marker Line Color. Instead of green, make it black if you wished, that idea. And there all kinds of other variations that you might want to pursue here as well. So let's say now that's a little more prominent. We can see the close prices. Of course, you can track stock data over longer periods of time than this, but I think you might see that it's going to get relatively crowded, if we cover a time period.
Twice as much, probably not so bad, but you want to experiment with that if you work with stock data. Another kind of chart, sometimes called XY chart, sometimes called Scatter. I will click a choice here for some data that might be ideal for this. XY charts, or scatter charts, typically are comparing two different sets of values. Let's say we've tracked the people who have run this race, 99% participants here. In no particular order, the data. We show people of different ages. We see their times. The data doesn't have to be in any particular order.
Let's take this data here, and there is no associated data with it, so we can simply click on one cell and Insert in the Ribbon > Scatter. I always make the first choice here. There are some other variations. Let's try this to see what we get. Initially, this is likely be disappointing, but a few quick fixes will help us read this a little more readily. First of all, you will notice across the bottom of the screen, although it doesn't say anything about age, that's what it represents. If you go through the data, you will realize the youngest age is about 20.
So why don't we right-click on the bottom axis down here somewhere and Format axis and change, in other words override, the automatic Minimum and turn that into 20. Then let's go to Maximum, and immediately we see what's happened on the chart. The oldest person race is 68, 69. Let's make the maximum here be 70 instead of 80. That helps a bit too. And also with the time, this part gets a little tricky. If you do deal with times, these are kind of difficult.
Sometimes what I would suggest is maybe make a guess. Now, you would have to know a little bit here about the way Excel handles times. What I'm getting at here, it looks like the lowest time is around 40 seconds or so, actually a bit above that. So, how do we make this different here? In other words, how do we change the left axis? Well, first of all, click there, and we want our Format Axis dialog box to react to that. So on the Minimum here, under Fixed, 1/24th of the day, that's what an hour is, so how about 40 minutes? That's about two-thirds of that.
So you might want to do a little bit of guessing here. What if we put in .05? That's one-120th of a day. What's that's going to change to? Maybe click down here on the word Fixed. You see what it comes up to now? How about .02. In other words, you've got to play with that a little bit. That not so bad. How about .03? So you kind of get the idea. There we are looking fairly good. It looks like the top is not so bad. So that's a better representation. Are we seeing what's going on here? I think in general we can see, or can we? Can we see, the older you are it takes a little bit longer, more or less? What you might want to do here with this simply by right-clicking on one of these points, you might want add a trendline here, and that's a linear trend- line, and that's perhaps the topic of different a discussion, but at least it gives us some sense of what's happening here with these ages and times.
Of course, you can do this with a variety of different kinds of comparisons, but in general an XY, or Scatter, chart is comparing two sets of data. So area stock and XY charts are specialized chart types for certain kinds of data, and here and there you want to keep an eye on them. At least be aware of some different examples as to when you might want to use these chart types.
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