Three tips to create powerful charts in Excel

Microsoft Excel can be a powerful tool for making sense of complex data sets, and for visualizing them. By creating charts and graphs in Excel, you can quickly and easily identify trends, patterns, and outliers in your data. This can help you to gain valuable insights and make more informed decisions.

However, creating effective data visualizations in Excel can also be challenging. Excel is not specifically designed for creating charts and graphs, so it can be difficult to get them to look exactly the way you want. The default option presented by Excel is often not the most pretty one.

Additionally, Excel doesn’t always make it easy to format and customize charts, which can make it difficult to create visualizations that accurately and effectively communicate your data. Creating data visualizations in Excel can be time-consuming, especially if you have a large amount of data to work with.

However, if you’re not willing to spend time or resources on other tools, Excel can get you quite far in creating beautiful, powerful charts – as long as you apply some basic data visualization principles.

📊 Here are our top three tips to create powerful charts in Excel:

1. Abandon the defaults

Excel’s default chart settings are not meant to make your chart look good, they’re meant to help you get an idea of what’s possible. Feel free to add or remove gridlines, data labels or legends as you see fit to make your chart more clear and more beautiful.

2. Find more suitable colors

Excel’s default color scheme is not exactly ideal. Each of the colors feels equally important, so it’s difficult to create a clear visual hierarchy. Use a tool like Coolors, ColorBrewer or the Data Color Picker to find a palette that matches the theme of the visual and allows you to use a strong accent color if needed. Don’t forget to use grey to send less important elements to the background!

3. Make combinations of charts

Excel’s chart options are substantial, but also have their limits. Sometimes you’ll have to group different charts together to reach the desired result. The butterfly chart below was created by grouping two separate bar charts (make sure they use the same scale!) and adding a text box to act as a title.

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