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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.
A well-designed chart is, by its very nature, colorful, easy to read--a lot easier than the data for many of us. But you still might want to enliven it even further by including a clip art image or a photograph as part of a chart, not necessarily of the perimeter or the plotting area, but the actual columns or bars or even wedges of a pie. Let's take a look at how this works. The process begins with, for example, in the lower-left corner, suppose we'd like to see instead of the columns, or one of the blue set of columns, how about an image here? Maybe this particular data is about vehicles or cars, and maybe we want to introduce a little bit of whimsy as well.
Let's click one of the blue columns and click in the chart. You see how all three of them are selected at once. Now on the Layout tab in the Ribbon, if you choose Picture, and this seems like we're going in the right direction, possibly you could use a photograph like this. Now these are the standard ones available, and you could certainly find others, depending on what you might have on a flash drive or on your C drive, whatever. You can easily choose one of these. However, if you do choose one, I'm choosing this right now, the Chrysanthemum, you choose Insert, just do a simple Insert, it covers the entire chart.
That's not what we want to do. Ctrl+Z. Strangely enough, we're going to get there faster if we simply right-click on the blue columns and go to Format Data Series. And we can fill that series with a solid color, a gradient color, lots of choices here. How about Picture or texture fill? And the last time this was used, apparently, on this particular PC, someone did fill in some colors, of light tan, so that's what we see. That's simply the last one that had been used.
We could go to file and choose something here. Why don't we choose the Chrysanthemum and see how that's going to look? And Insert. That's probably not a great choice here, and besides I suggest that maybe we want to use a car here. Now there could be a picture of a car on a file. I'm not sure how good that would look. I don't think the penguins would look so good here either. We could try that one. Well, maybe, depending on the nature of the content. But let's jump into clip art and see what we could find--and of course, thousands of choices out here. Presumably, you're looking for something that's pertinent to the particular kind of data.
I'm going to just type in the word 'car' here, and there's sort of a cartoonish car right here. Maybe choose this and OK. Now that's all squat and doesn't look very good, so what might we do with this? We could certainly leave it that way, but I don't think so. Stack, let's try Stack right here. It stacks the car. If the proportions aren't the way you would like them be, you can stack and scale them in different ways, but let's say that doesn't look too bad. And I think you just have to decide whether that tells the story. Are you going to be taken less seriously if you use an image like this? Is it too off-the-wall? Is it too non- standard, too non-businesslike? But at least you can see how that could be done.
You see a lot of these kinds of charts, for example, in the lower left-hand corner of typically USA Today newspaper. Americans are eating more potatoes, you'll see a stack of potatoes, that sort of thing. So you can insert clip art and/or images within chart elements. I doubt if the bar chart here in the middle is a good candidate for those because there are just too many bars there. Pie chart maybe not so good either, but let's, after selecting one of the wedges, right-click, and maybe format that. This time I'll try using that chrysanthemum. Maybe it will look okay there.
Now again, I'd be a little bit hard- pressed to tell you why that's a great choice. You can see what's happened automatically here. The car, since that was last used, that probably doesn't make much sense there either. How will this chrysanthemum look? There we go! So again, in context with the right kind of data here and there, that might make some sense. It's a relatively easy way to add a little bit of flair and pizzazz to certain kinds of charts.
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