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How To Visualise Data in Excel

Visualising information is essential to understand and capitalise on the data that a business has at its disposal.

In fact, it’s fair to say that modern companies have never been more reliant on data to maximise productivity and inform business decisions. A large part of the challenge is summarising large data sets so that they are ready to share and easy to digest for managers, board members and any other key stakeholders when needed.

As the world’s leading spreadsheets and workbooks program, Microsoft Excel is the natural choice for those looking to translate raw data into clear insights. Excel’s wide range of graphs, charts, models and visualisations gives users plenty of options to visualise information in a way that suits their business. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular.

How to create pie charts in Excel

Pie charts are a simple yet highly effective model to compare the percentage share of different parts that make a whole. They are one of the visualisations most commonly used in company reports and financial modelling analysis. Follow the steps below to create a pie chart in your Excel workbook:

  1. Prepare your data

Organise your data into two columns, A and B. The most common scenario for a pie chart is to place category types in column A and their associated values in column B.

  1. Insert pie chart

Highlight the data you wish to include in the pie chart, then navigate to Insert > Pie. Excel will automatically insert a 2D pie chart into your spreadsheet with all selected values represented.

  1. Add labels, title and customise

It’s always a good idea to provide contextual information and a clear legend that sits alongside the pie chart, particularly if you plan on sharing the chart as part of a report. Users also have the option to visualise the chart as a 3D model if needed.

How to create PivotCharts in Excel

PivotCharts are a great way to summarise and analyse data in a formatted structure, while also providing an engaging visualisation that orientates the user immediately. They are the visual representation of PivotTables, so naturally you need to create a pivot table first by following these steps:

  1. Organise your data into a table.
  2. Click a cell in the source data or table range.
  3. Navigate to Insert > Tables > Recommended PivotTable.
  4. Excel reviews your data and presents several PivotTable choices.
  5. Choose the PivotTable that you prefer and select OK.

Once you have your PivotTable ready to go, follow these steps to create a PivotChart:

  1. Click any cell in your PivotTable
  2. Right click and navigate to PivotTable Tools > Analyse > PivotChart
  3. Preview and select the type of PivotChart you prefer and click OK.
  4. Excel will automatically insert the PivotChart in the same spreadsheet as the PivotTable.
  5. Format chart elements such as titles, data labels, field buttons, styles and colours using the two buttons next to the chart.

Advanced visualisation options

Many businesses we speak to are looking to go even further with their data visualisation capabilities to produce engaging graphs and charts that are able to convey complex data insights.

Advanced tools such as Power View utilise intuitive technology to create interactive graphics and data models. There is also Power Map, a 3D visualisation tool that connects with Bing maps to present key data points, columns and heat maps. That’s not to mention the host of third party customisation softwares such as Vizydrop and Tableau that can be integrated within a workbook to produce unique designs.

The visualisation possibilities within Excel are boundless, though they often require the experience of a expert Excel consultant to ensure accuracy and engagement at all times.

If your business is facing any of these challenges, or you wish to find out more about the services that Bespoke Excel provide, get in touch with our team of expert data visualisation consultants today on 0161 883 2655.

 

 

Updated on April 24, 2018

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