Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Building an infographic using a picture fill, part of Data-Driven Presentations with Excel and PowerPoint.
An information graphic, or infographic, is a visual representation of data or information and you create an infographic because you want to present some complex data in a way that's simpler to understand, and that clearly allows people to have access to the information. In our spreadsheet, we have four different sizes of K Eco-energy solar panels. And I'd like to put together a graphic, that will illustrate the sales of those solar panels.
So we can have a conversation about this. Now I've actually created the chart already. Here it is on the Charts tab. And it looks good. There's nothing wrong with it. It screams out green, which is great. That's part of our message. But let's turn this chart into an easier to understand, and easier to remember imagining of solar panel sales. I'm going to start by selecting the chart series. I just click any column to make that happen. And then I'm going to right click, and if I'm in 2013, which I am, I have fill right here, but if not you can go to Format Data Series and get to the same place.
So I'm just going to walk the longer way around here and choose Fill when the task pane opens. Right now we have a solid fill applied, I could choose a different color. And simply going to yellow would make this more memorable as solar. But I want to do more than that. I'm going to choose Picture or Texture Fill and Excel doesn't know what picture I want but it has access to a texture palette so it's applying textures as quick as it can. This is one of them. There are a whole lot of other textures. You can check them out down here. But this is the first one called papyrus, fossil fish, it's exciting, but there's nothing here that says solar to me.
Water, yes. Marble, fine. I want to use a picture. So, I'm going to insert a picture from the file and out on the desktop in my Exercise Files folder I have some graphics. I actually want to use a particular icon. And I'd like a transparent icon so that any background around it won't be filled with the color but will be filled with whatever comes through from my background. So, that leads me to transparent. Choose a Transparent 300 DPI> Sun.
That's the one I want, and I'm going to insert this. Now, don't get freaked out right now, because this is what Excel does. It takes the image and it says, oh, I need to make it as big as the column is. And I want to say no, stack them. So I'm choosing, stack rather then stretch, and all of a sudden I get icons. So here where it's sales of 15,000, I get two and a half. This is proportionally correct, but it's even cooler if I can say each of these represent something.
So I'm going to stack and scale this with units. And so let's say we want to have 5,000 units to each picture. That's what that looks like. Or I could say, I'd like to have 10,000. Pick a nice, normal number. You know, if you say, well, got 3,500. That's hard to remember. Tens, fives, ones, hundreds, easy to remember numbers. 5,000 works. That's cool.
So now, these are solar panel sales. I have a solar image, I have them stacked up. Another possibility would be I could take a picture, a stylized picture. Probably, of a solar panel, and stack those up here, as well. So I have different choices, depending on what image I choose. You want to choose something that is easy. If you choose a photograph it's normally quite hard to make it have enough distinction that you can tell when it goes from one symbol to the next to the next.
Now I want to provide a little bit of a legend. So I'm going to make my chart a little bit larger. I'm going to select a plot area. I'm going to slide up a bit. Not quite that much. And I'm going to go back and grab that same image again. There it is. Make it about the same size. Drop it in here. Let's add a text box.
Insert a text box. Equals 5000 panels sold. I could kick the size of that up a little bit so that it comes closer to the size that I'm using here on the axis. And then I'm going to take this whole text box and then just slide it up a little so it's even. So we started with the chart that had four green columns in it. Again, nothing wrong with it, and many of us would just stop right there.
When this chart sits on the screen, your users, the people whose minds you want to change about something, will look at this, and they'll remember solar panels. They'll see the sun, they'll remember solar panels, and this will leave a striking impression as well as making it more accessible. It's so easy to see that there about the same number of suns here but a lot more suns in the larger columns. So, here's one way, just one of many that we can use Excel to create infographics that tell a compelling story.
- Using Excel themes
- Formatting tables
- Highlighting data with conditional formatting
- Creating pie, column, and combination charts
- Creating PivotTables
- Pasting and linking charts and tables
- Creating SmartArt diagrams
- Animating charts, tables, and SmartArt
- Finalizing your presentation