StepYou’ve got your data, studied it, and now you need to tell people about what you’ve found. When there is a large chunk of information that needs to be conveyed, communicating this through a visual representation is highly advised.
We tend to understand a concept a lot more when it is illustrated. This is why using a chart is one of the best ways to explain your data to an audience. So in this article, we’ll discuss all that you need to know about charts along with a few guidelines on how they are created.
Listed below are the major elements that make up an effective chart:
1. Title: As the name implies, this refers to the topic covered by your chart. This indicates the purpose of the chart and the general message conveyed by the data presented. It’s important to make your title as specific as possible to avoid any confusion.
2. Chart Area: The entire space covered by all the chart elements is known as the chart area. Here, points, labels, axes, and grid lines are added to visually interpret the given data.
3. Plot Area: Within the chart area, you can find another section where data is consolidated. This is known as the plot area. It’s a rectangular space that may be customized to different colors and styles to enhance your content and draw attention.
4. Legend: Say you’re creating a seating chart for over a hundred guests. You’re likely to divide everyone into groups, such as friends from high school, relatives from your mother’s side, colleagues from work, and the like; it’s best to use a legend to help identify this arrangement. Without it, readers may interpret your chart differently than how you intended.
5. Labels: This indicates what the item on the axis represents. The label must describe the data point for viewers to know its purpose in the chart. Make sure that these labels are reflected on your legend.
6. Points: These “points” can come in various forms. It can be an actual point, a bar, or a slice, depending on the type of chart you are creating. A group of points plotted in a chart is referred to as a data series. You may also see behavior chart examples.
You set a meeting with a panel of potential investors. With only a few days to prepare, you decide to make a short report for your presentation. But instead of writing a wordy narrative, you might want to consider using a chart to convey your message. Fortunately, charts are extremely easy to make in spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel. To learn more about how these charts are made, refer to the steps provided below:
1. Gather the necessary data for your chart. Once you have identified your purpose and goal, you can determine what type of chart might be appropriate to help you translate the acquired data.
2. Launch the application on your computer. Go to the Insert tab and click Recommended Charts to open a preview of the charts available. You can also get a better glimpse of what’s available by clicking the All Charts tab of the menu. But if you already have a template for your chart, you can open the file in MS Excel to have it edited.
3. Look for your ideal chart type, select it, and click OK to add the chart to your work space.
4. Since you are using a template to create your chart, you might want to change the title, labels, legend, and variables that come with the pre-made template. This should suit the data you have collected as well as the message you are trying to convey. You may also see comparison chart examples.
5. Now that you developed a foundation for your chart, you can then start plotting your data. This should be done as carefully as possible to generate accurate results. You can even use grid lines as a guide for plotting the correct values.
Now that we’ve tackled the basic aspects of a chart, let’s find out how you can improve your chart with the help of these simple tips:
Picking the right type of chart would depend on the kind of data you have and what you want to communicate. To give you an idea, here are some of the most common chart types and their intended functions:
A chart refers to the graphical representation of data in the form of symbols, such as lines, slices, or bars. Information may also be presented in a tabular format for better analysis. By doing so, you are able to translate complex data to an audience in such a way that they can easily comprehend.
We all know that scientists and engineers use charts to gain an in-depth understanding of the data they have acquired from their research. But the use of charts is not limited to such, as project leaders, company managers, and members of the academe can also use these charts to manage a project, make comparisons between different groups, and monitor changes over a span of time. This is an efficient tool that you can use to present your findings and analysis to an audience.
While charts and graphs may overlap at a certain point, there isn’t a significant difference between the two. Charts present valuable data to readers in the form of a diagram, table, or even a graph. A graph, on the other hand, shows the mathematical relationship between data sets through a visual format. In other words, all graphs are considered to be a chart, but not all charts are graphs.
So there you have it! Skip the lengthy explanations and cut right to the chase with your findings by using a professionally made chart template to express your message.