In previous post, we learnt about different types of charts in excel. In this post, we will learn how to choose the correct chart type.
- Types Of Charts In Excel
- Choosing The Correct Chart Type
- How To Create Excel Charts
- Basic Excel Chart Formatting
Different charts are to be created for different data types. Therefore it is very important to know the data type and the type of chart which should be used in each case.
First of all it is important to understand the message that we want to convey through our charts. To understand this concept better, let us consider a sample database of college students. To keep it simple we have used variants of the same example to explain different messages.
Message Type 1: Comparison
Let us suppose that we have a small student database which contains the names of students and the marks scored by them.
The chart which should not be used in this example and also generally for “Comparison” is Bubble Chart and Scatter Chart.
We can’t use the bubble chart for “Comparison” because a bubble chart has area and scatter information. It does not depict the message clearly and it is difficult to make out the scores in this case and compare them. So, Bubble Chart and Scatter Chart are incorrect charts for comparison.
Message Type 2: Distribution Of Values
For distribution let us suppose that our college has organized a cultural fest. Suppose the registration period is 5 hours from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM and the event manager is interested in understanding the distribution of students registered in this 5 hour period. The chart which we use, should help us in understanding the number of students which register each hour and which hour has the maximum no. of students (Peak hour). This will in turn help the event manager in capacity planning with respect to increasing the number of registration desks to enhance efficiency during the peak hour.
Pie Chart and Bubble Chart will be incorrect chart types for distribution.
Message Type 3: Parts Of The Total Value
To understand this message let us suppose that we have a database of the branches/streams in our college which contains two fields: The name of the branch and the no. of students in each branch.
Bubble Chart, Scatter Chart and Line Chart however are the incorrect chart types for Parts of the total message.
Let us suppose that we have a database of the placement records of students of each branch from 2005-2008.
Bubble Chart, Scatter Chart and Pie Chart don’t capture information completely. Therefore they are not suitable for representing “Trend over time”
To understand this let us suppose that students need to be registered for an event. We wish to graphically depict the wait time for each student or the time which is required for processing each registration and find out the “Deviation”. Correct chart types are:
Message Type 6: Relationship
Let us suppose that we our student database has 3 fields: Names of students, No. of marks scored by each student and the attendance.
If we are interested in using a chart to depict the relationship between the attendance and no. of marks scored by each student we are trying to convey the “Relationship message”. For depicting this we require charts which show both the fields “student marks and attendance” in one graph clearly.
Line Chart & Scatter Chart clearly show the relationship between “Student Attendance” and his/her “Marks”. The relationship which can be derived from these charts is “Higher the attendance, more the marks”.
So, in this post, we learnt how to choose a correct excel chart type based on a given scenario. In next tutorials, we will learn about how to create an excel chart and baisc and advance formatting on excel charts.