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About this lesson
Column Charts are useful for comparing values to each other. This lesson explores ways to help make them as effective as possible via some of their available options.
Working with Column charts
When to use
Column Charts are useful for comparing values to each other
Reminder of Charting Goals
- Every chart should tell a story, quickly and effectively
- Extra chart elements create noise, and get in the way of the story
- It is a best practice to remove as much excess ink (noise) as you can
Creating a Column chart
- Select your data
- Go to Insert --> Charts -->Column Charts and select the 2D Column chart
- Expand the chart so that all rows are readable
- To link a title to a cell, select the chart title, press the equals key, click on a cell and press Enter
- Right click the data series (Columns) and choose Format Data Series
- Adjust the Gap width down to make the Columns wider
- Adjust the Overlap to bring the individual series closer together
- Select the numbers in the axis
- Click the Column chart icon in the Format Axis task pane
- Expand NUMBER and change the number formats
Re-sort the data
- Select the source data from the original table
- Go to Data --> Sort
- Sort [Your chosen field] --> Smallest to Largest
Hints & tips
- Remove items and elements that you don’t need by selecting them and pressing the Delete key
- A common addition is to right click a series and choose Add Data Labels
- Change font sizes by selecting an element and formatting it from the Home tab
- When removing gridlines, make sure you are selecting the gridlines and not the entire chart
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