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Chapter 11: Working with Charts

By: Patrice-Anne Rutledge and Jim Grey

Page 2 of 4

Read Patrice's interview here...

Date Created:
Last Updated: February 26th 2009

...Continued from Page 1

Selecting a Chart Type
Entering Data in the Datasheet

Continued on Page 3...

Selecting a Chart Type

PowerPoint offers plenty of chart types and sub-types for almost every kind of graphic representation you could want to create. Sub-types are variations on a basic chart type, such as 3D options. PowerPoint includes these basic chart types:

  • Column Creates vertical columns to compare the values of categories of data. Column, bar, and line charts work well if you want to compare values over time periods such as months or quarters. Figure 11.7 illustrates a sample column chart.

Figure 11.7: A column chart makes it easy to compare series of data.
  • Bar Creates horizontal bars to compare the values of categories of data.

  • Line Creates a line with markers for each data value.

  • Pie Creates a pie that analyzes percentages of a total number. Use a pie chart to see how items contribute to a total. For example, you might want to compare the year's expenses for each department in your company. Figure 11.8 shows a pie chart.

Figure 11.8: Use pie charts to show percentages of a total amount.
  • XY (Scatter) Creates a chart that compares sets of values.

  • Area Creates a chart that shows the trend of values in a single solid area.

  • Doughnut Creates a pie chart that can contain more than one series.

  • Radar Assigns a value axis (radiating from the center) for each category, and draws lines to connect all values in the same series. The chart compares the collected values of several data series.

  • Surface Creates a single 3D surface that helps you finding the best combinations between two sets of data. Colors and patterns indicate areas that are in the same range of values.

  • Bubble Compares three sets of values displayed as bubbles.

  • Stock Shows a stock's high, low, and close figures.

  • Cylinder Creates columns shaped like cylinders.

  • Cone Creates columns shaped like cones.

  • Pyramid Creates columns shaped like pyramids.

If you already know that you want to create a 3D clustered column chart, which is the PowerPoint default, you don't need to do anything to select a chart type. However, if you want to use a different chart type, you should select it before you enter any data or make any other modifications. There are two ways to change the chart type in PowerPoint. You can click the down arrow next to the Chart Type button on the Standard toolbar and select the chart type you want to apply from the palette that appears. Place the mouse over a specific chart type to view a chart tip that tells you the chart type's name. PowerPoint applies the chart type to your chart, which reformats itself in the new type. Not all chart types are available through the Chart Type button, however. If you can't find what you need on the palette that appears, try the Chart Type dialog box (Chart, Chart Type).

In either case, if you don't like the new chart type you applied, click the Undo button on the Standard toolbar to return to your original selection.

To apply a new chart type using the Chart Type dialog box, follow these steps:

  1. In Microsoft Graph, choose Chart, Chart Type from the menu. The Chart Type dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 11.9.

    Figure 11.9: PowerPoint offers many different chart types.
  1. On the Standard Types tab, select the type of chart you want from the Chart Type list. A variety of sub-types appears in the Chart sub-type area.

  2. Click the sub-type you want. The text box below provides detailed information about this sub-type.

  3. To preview what an actual chart of this type looks like, click the Press and Hold to View Sample button. A sample chart temporarily replaces the Chart Sub-Type box, as shown in Figure 11.10.

    Figure 11.10: You can preview changes before making them.
  1. If you want to change this to your default, select the Set as Default Chart button.

  2. If none of the chart types in the Standard Types tab suits your needs, click the Custom Types tab to view more options. Figure 11.11 illustrates this tab.

    Figure 11.11: Custom charts provide variety and options.

    Note - Custom charts include detailed formatting, and some are customized specifically for a certain kind of output, such as onscreen presentations. The text box beneath the example indicates these details.

  1. Click the Built-In option button to display PowerPoint's ready-made custom charts.

    Note - You can also add an active chart in your current presentation to the list of chart types. Simply select the User-Defined option button on the Custom Types tab, click the Add button, and enter details about this active chart to the Add Custom Chart Type dialog box that appears. Microsoft Graph adds this chart to its list of custom chart types.

  1. Select the chart type you want to use from the Chart Type list. An example displays in the Sample box.

  2. Click OK to apply the chart type and return to your presentation.


Entering Data in the Datasheet

The default datasheet that opens when you first create a chart includes four columns and three rows. This is a common chart format—comparing specific categories over periods of time—but only one of the hundreds of possible formats. Figure 11.12 illustrates this datasheet.

Figure 11.12: Enter chart data in a datasheet, similar to an Excel worksheet.

The first row and column of a datasheet serve as headers for the information in the datasheet. Therefore, the second row begins with the number 1 and the second column with the letter A. In this example, the columns display as the category axis, the rows display as the data series listed in the legend, and the cell data (A1:D3) represents the value axis.

Tip - To reverse the chart and use the column data as the data series instead of the row data, click the By Columns button on the Standard toolbar. Microsoft Graph redesigns the chart based on this change. For example, if you changed the default chart to display in columns, the quarters appear in the legend and the locations appear in the category axis.

To input your own data, just type over the existing information in each cell.

Does your chart have extra spaces? See the "Troubleshooting" section near the end of this chapter.

If the data you need is already in an Excel spreadsheet , you can import directly from Excel without reentering this information in the datasheet. Click the Import File button on the Standard toolbar to open the Import File dialog box. Choose the Excel file you want to import and click Open. The Import Data Options dialog box guides you through this process. Note that you can import from Lotus 1-2-3 and text file formats as well.

Inserting and Deleting Datasheet Rows and Columns

To delete a row or column, place the cursor within the appropriate row or column and choose Edit, Delete from the menu. To remove the contents of a cell rather than the cell itself, choose Edit, Clear, Contents. Clearing the contents is best when you want to remove existing data and replace it with new data. If you no longer need the row or column, you should delete it. You can delete a row or column by selecting its heading and pressing the Delete key.

Note - You can also cut (Ctrl+X), copy (Ctrl+C), and paste (Ctrl+V) data in the datasheet by using keyboard commands or by choosing the appropriate buttons on the Standard toolbar.

To insert a new row, select the row below where you want to place the new row and choose Insert, Cells. Microsoft Graph inserts a new row directly above the selected row.

To insert a new column, select the column heading to the right of where you want to place the new column and choose Insert, Cells. Microsoft Graph inserts a new column directly to the left of the selected column.

If you want to insert a new cell, rather than a complete row or column, select the cell where you want to insert a cell; choose Insert, Cells; and choose either Shift Cells Right or Shift Cells Down in the Insert dialog box (see Figure 11.13).

Figure 11.13: Determine the direction to move the existing cells in the Insert dialog box.

PowerPoint inserts a new cell and shifts the row to the right or shifts the column down, depending on your selection. You can undo insertions and deletions by clicking the Undo button or pressing Ctrl+Z.

Formatting Datasheet Column Width

To format the datasheet's column width, follow these steps:

  1. Select the heading of the column whose width you want to adjust.

  2. Choose Format, Column Width. The Column Width dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 11.14.

Figure 11.14: You can customize the width of a datasheet column.

  1. Type a width for the column the Column Width field. To adjust to the standard width, select the Use Standard Width check box. Or, click the Best Fit button to have the columns adjust automatically based on the existing data.

  2. Click OK to return to the datasheet.

Formatting Datasheet Numbers

You can format the text and numbers in your datasheet if you want. To format numerical data, select the cell or cells you want to format and choose Format, Number. The Format Number dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 11.15.

Figure 11.15: Customize the way numbers appear in this dialog box.

Select the type of number format you want from the Category list, such as date, time, or currency format. Based on your category selection, the right side of the dialog box offers additional formatting options related to the category.

For example, if you choose Currency, the right side of the dialog box lets you choose the currency symbol such as the dollar, pound, or yen. Several of the numeric categories also let you choose the number of decimal places you want to include.

Click OK to accept the formatting changes and to update your chart.

Do your datasheet numbers display in an exponential format? See the "Troubleshooting" section near the end of the chapter.

Including and Excluding Rows and Columns

You can include rows and columns in your datasheet, but temporarily hide them in your presentation. To do that, select the column or row that you want to hide, and choose Data, Exclude Row/Col. The row or column appears shaded in your datasheet and temporarily disappears from your presentation. Figure 11.16 shows an example of a hidden column in a datasheet.

Figure 11.16: This hidden column will temporarily be removed from the chart.

To include this information again, choose Data, Include Row/Col.

Tip - You can also double-click the row or column head to include or exclude the rows or columns. In this case, the action serves as a toggle.

Returning to the Presentation from the Datasheet

When you finish formatting and modifying the datasheet, you can close it by clicking the View Datasheet button on the Standard toolbar. Or you can return to working on the presentation while the datasheet remains open by clicking on any section of the presentation.

To reopen the datasheet, click the View Datasheet button again.


Continued on Page 3...

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