Archive for How-Tos

How to Place Labels Directly on Top of Your Line Graph

How to Place Labels Directly on Top of Your Line Graph

I recently discussed four options for labeling line graphs. A personal favorite is to place the labels directly on top of the data points, like this: There’s been a lot of interest in this labeling technique, so here’s your step-by-step tutorial!   First, set up…

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Quickly Visualizing Patterns with Excel’s Data Bars

Quickly Visualizing Patterns with Excel’s Data Bars

Data bars are miniature within-cell bar charts. I primarily use them to quickly explore patterns in my dataset. Sometimes I decide to make an actual bar chart of the data later on. Other times, I’m simply using these tiny charts to help my brain spot…

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Adjusting Your Bar Chart’s Spacing in Excel

Adjusting Your Bar Chart’s Spacing in Excel

Let’s pretend you’re graphing age distributions for a given county. You carefully formatted your histogram: you removed the border, lightened the grid lines, wrote a descriptive title and subtitle, selected customized RGB color codes, and called attention to a section of the graph with the saturated action…

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How Data Visualization Supports Decision Making

How Data Visualization Supports Decision Making

The only thing I love more than analyzing research data is analyzing personal finance data. In both cases, simple descriptive statistics and basic charts can shine a spotlight on interesting patterns and help people choose their course of action. Not too long ago, a friend…

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Four Steps: Social Network Analysis by Twitter Hashtag with NodeXL [Guest post by Johanna Morariu]

Four Steps: Social Network Analysis by Twitter Hashtag with NodeXL [Guest post by Johanna Morariu]

Note from Ann: Today’s guest post is from Johanna Morariu, Director of Innovation Network, AEA DVRTIG Chair, and dataviz aficionado. Basic social network analysis is something EVERYONE can do. So let’s try out one social network analysis tool, NodeXL, and take a peek at the…

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Dataviz Challenge #6: Can You Make a Unit Chart?

Dataviz Challenge #6: Can You Make a Unit Chart?

Lately I’ve been feeling let down by summary statistics: the min and max, mean and median, quartiles and standard deviation… They do their job well enough. Summary statistics tell a summary. An aggregate story, bringing all the messy scores together into some sort of cohesion. We…

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Dataviz Challenge #5: How to Make a Diverging Stacked Bar Chart in Excel

Dataviz Challenge #5: How to Make a Diverging Stacked Bar Chart in Excel

I’ve been in love with diverging stacked bar charts since I saw Joe Mako’s submission to Cole Nussbaumer’s dataviz challenge last December. Joe made this contest-winning chart. But in Tableau! The amazing but expensive software! Could I ever create one in Excel?! Yes! Luckily I’d…

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Dataviz Challenge #5: Can You Make a Diverging Stacked Bar Chart?

Dataviz Challenge #5: Can You Make a Diverging Stacked Bar Chart?

Last week I shared strategies for improving any chart’s colors. One of the examples was a diverging stacked bar chart: I love stacked bar charts because they’re pretty versatile, and because they’re a great chart for lots of evaluation and survey data. In my example,…

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Dataviz Challenge #4: How to Make a Small Multiples Bar Chart in Excel

Dataviz Challenge #4: How to Make a Small Multiples Bar Chart in Excel

Two weeks ago, I challenged readers to re-create the “after” version of a small multiples bar chart. You can read the full post here. Congratulations to the 6 contestants! Click on the contestant’s name to see their chart. James Coyle Sara Vaca Elisa Avila Angie…

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Dataviz Challenge #4: Can You Make a Small Multiples Bar Chart?

Dataviz Challenge #4: Can You Make a Small Multiples Bar Chart?

In the third dataviz challenge, we started talking about making several comparisons at once. For example, when the Innovation Network team and I surveyed nonprofits in the State of Evaluation 2012 research, we found differences between small, medium, and large nonprofits’ evaluation practices and capacity….

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