Last Updated: February 6th 2010
02/14/2013 06:35 PM
When your 3D chart comprises columns of various heights, chances are that some of the columns hide other columns placed behind them. This is especially true with 3D charts that have a Z axis. One of the ways to make the columns placed behind visible is to make the taller columns transparent. The other way to solve this issue is to rotate the 3D chart so that you end up with a view in which the shorter columns become clearly visible.
02/14/2013 02:30 AM
When you place a chart on your slide that contains a Z-axis, you will notice that unlike conventional 2D charts, these charts have distinct walls and a floor. Also by default, these walls and floor show no fill or even a border (see chart in Figure 1) -- the lines you see within the walls are gridlines, and not borders. If your slide background is a solid color like white or black, these defaults could work best for you -- however you may want to play a bit with changing the fill or line attributes for the wall and floor elements. Do remember though that you should leave these elements in their default state unless you have a compelling reason to change them!
02/07/2013 09:25 PM
OK -- you read the title right! We reiterate that you should still not use 3D charts unless you must have a Z-axis. Having said that, we are talking about making your 3D columns in a chart transparent. Yes, there's a reason to do so especially when you find that some of the columns in your 3D chart may be hiding behind one or more of the other columns, just because they are not tall enough.
02/05/2013 11:18 PM
The Z axis is the Depth axis that some 3D charts contain -- sometimes this is also called the Series axis. Let us be clear about the fact that not all 3D charts contain a Z axis -- in fact some 3D chart variants use the third dimension even if they do not need a Z axis! They do so just because some people wrongly believe that 3D is so cool. Truth be said, 3D charts come with their own share of problems. You really must not create 3D charts if a Z axis is not required for your data. As Nancy Duarte says in her HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations book: "If you don't have a Z axis in your data, omit 3D effects -- the depth can make your numbers look larger than they are."
02/03/2013 10:58 PM
Axes in PowerPoint charts are typically positioned on the left and bottom of the plot area. But there may be scenarios when you want your axes to cross each other within the plot area rather than be located on its edges. Attaining such a crossed axes can be desirable due to a variety of reasons in both the Value and Category axes.
01/30/2013 10:23 PM
Sometimes just one Value axis is not enough! Of course that observation is only true if your data demands a second axis. Our example data for this tutorial pertains to the average temperature and rainfall in London across the 12 calendar months of a year. The temperature is depicted in Celsius and the rainfall is in millimeters. What you should note carefully is that the value range of temperature spans between 30 and 70, whereas the range for rainfall is in between 0 to 12 (approximately). A chart that results from this data doesn't live up to the comparison -- it's almost like comparing apples and oranges -- we are comparing items that cannot be compared!
01/28/2013 09:19 PM
Do you like the default locations where PowerPoint places your axes' labels? Yes, we do believe that the defaults do work best most of the time because audiences expect these labels to exist at these familiar locations. However, there may be times when you probably don't even need labels for your axes -- or you may want them placed in another location so that your charts look cleaner. Whatever your motive may be, it is indeed possible to change the position of axis labels vis-à-vis the axis.
01/24/2013 11:37 PM
Axis Labels, as the name suggests are labels for the Categories and Values on your chart axes. So where do these labels come from? Category axis labels reflect the Category names within your data (typically within an Excel sheet). Values on the other hand are determined by PowerPoint based upon the maximum value in your data -- the minimum value is always set to zero. Of course you can change the Minimum and Maximum values if you want.
01/22/2013 10:24 PM
Major and Minor units are the intervals at which the axis spaces itself. As the name itself suggests, you can choose to space the axis at two levels: Major and Minor. By default, PowerPoint sets the Major and Minor units on its own -- many times, this may be exactly what you need. At other times, you may want to set your own intervals for the Major and Minor units. Before you do so, a word of caution -- do remember that any of these changes can have three implications.
01/20/2013 11:23 PM
Charts are a visual representation of data, and when seen on a PowerPoint slide from afar, you make out the value of a series by exploring where exactly it's placed vis-à-vis the axis. Of course, if your chart has data labels, then this is less of an issue -- however, typical charts may have no data labels. For such a chart, the Tick Marks placed on the axis will help us get a better idea. Most chart types show two types of tick marks on axes -- Major and Minor.