Column and Bar charts are ideal for showing all types of data. Line charts are best for showing trends. Easy to switch between various types.
- [Narrator] It's not always clear which chart type is gonna work best for you: column, bar, line, or others. But because it's so easy to change a charts type you should explore some of the many types available. Looking at the worksheet called chart types, in the workbook 07 charting, the default chart type in Excel is called clustered column. I'm highlighting the data from cells A2 over to E7, and the quick way to create a chart, Alt + F + 1, I'll use it here.
That's a custard column chart and that might be ideal for your data. But don't just stop there and assume that it's the best chart. When the chart is created it is selected in the design tab, the contextual design tab and format tabs are available. On the design tab is the all-important change chart type, click it. Sometimes you have to move the title bar around so you can keep an eye on the chart. Column, we see some variations. Here's a stacked column, sometimes that's better.
It's less crowded, it shows the data in a different way. It's big advantage is the height of the column does reflect the total and sometimes you want that to stand out more prominently. Some other variations out here without going through all of them, this is somewhat like a pie chart 100% stacked column. Then we've got some 3D variations out here. And don't overlook the last ones, some people like that. It's more colorful, may not be the best chart. But, nevertheless, at different times you want to explore these. Line chart, these are often considered the best kinds of charts if you're trying to show a trend.
In some cases we're not seeing a trend here, we'll show you how possibly that can look better. And pie charts, usually pie charts are showing a minimal amount of data. Usually it's only one row or one column even if you've highlighted lots of cells. And we see some other variations. Bar is simply a horizontal representation of a column chart. Area charts, some cases suggest volume, and could be better. Doesn't look so great here, and there's certainly a lot of other variations. And when you have that extra moment or so check out some of these sometimes we see almost nothing out there.
But, as we see different examples over time some of these could be appropriate. If you only use charting occasionally, you probably should stick to what we sometimes refer to as the big four: column, line, pie and bar. We see these in newspapers, magazine, on television a lot. If you find yourself explaining how to read the chart you might want to rethink that. Ideally, the chart should almost tell the story with very little commentary. So let's say we go with bar chart here, how bout this one. Looks pretty good. Double click it. There it is.
And again, we can change our mind easily at any given time. Here's some other data over here. Let's try this, now there's a lot more information here. And that's a consideration times two. Are we trying to accentuate a trend here, maybe that line chart type's gonna be best. This time we'll go to the insert tab and line is available right here, insert line or area chart. Click, how bout that choice, looks pretty good. And by the way, with line charts if you make them taller, in other words if, after selecting the chart, if you drag one of these handles as they're called on the midpoints of the sides or on the corners.
Rephrase, you can make the chart narrower you can make it taller, that accentuates the amount of change. On the other hand, if you make this a lot flatter, that suggests that there hasn't been a whole lotta change. So, with line charts sometimes you have different thoughts about what you're trying to show. But that's certainly a viable type in some situations. And nearly always in a line chart, you wanna be seeing across the bottom some timeframe, in this case months. Now an important button but one that probably doesn't attract your attention, is one called switch row column.
As I click this button here for a line chart, I think the other choice is not very good at all. Line charts should be about time, so that doesn't work so well. But on the chart to the left I'm gonna click and drag this chart up a little bit. Remember, that's representing the data on the left side of the screen there. In the example here I'll simply switch row column. I highly recommend this button at different times, as you switch row column, that is how we're clustering the data in a different way. And you might change the chart type here, and consider some changes again, and we'll go with this one.
And now, switch row column. Different ways of displaying the data. So, the more you experiment with these, the more you have insight into the various chart types available in Excel. And back on the insert tab here, too, we are reminded of some other choices here. So, when you do click the design tab, change chart type, from time to time consider some of the other choices out here. The newer choices added in recent years: treemap, probably doesn't look so great here, sunburst could be okay, histogram eh doesn't look like it.
But again, depending upon the data and what's been highlighted, some of these other choices might have some merit. So there's no pure answer as to which chart types gonna be best, but do remember you can easily change a charts type display data in a way that's most appropriate for you and/or your audience.
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