Let’s take a quick look at how a basic column chart in Excel can be turned into something you might want to look at.
- Enter your data into Excel
- Insert a column chart (if you’re basic, save and close here…)
Oh, good! You’re ready for more. Okay, here it goes:
- Get rid of that white space by decreasing the gap width.
- Remove the gridlines. They add unnecessary clutter for readers
- Trash the x-axis.
- …the y-axis, too!
- Add data labels (and for the love of all things, don’t leave them hanging in space – move them onto their respective bar).
- The title. I’m a fan of Stephanie Evergreen’s piece on this. Instead of a simple word or two, write a sentence that describes the dataset and LEFT justify it.
- Format! 10pt labels, 12pt title, non-default font and colors.
Bonus: Make everything a table. Sort them — highest to lowest (i.e. descending first), so readers don’t have to do the ordering themselves.
Questions? Shoot me a message or tweet.