Free E-Book

By Vivek Singh
Author of the blog All About Presentations

E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts

All About Presentations

I hereby give you every right to distribute this e-book. If you are reproducing or quoting any part of this e-book you must mention my name and link to the blog (

Page 2 of 39

E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts

All About Presentations

What is this E-Book about? This e-book will help you make awesome charts in 14 simple steps. You will be able to create charts that are effective and smart looking. These tips were first published as a series of 14 posts on the blog This is a revised and concise version of the entire series. You can read all the posts online here.

Who will benefit from this e-book? If you make charts and present it to others (through reports, presentations or any other medium) this e-book is for you. This e-book focuses more on presenting charts and not on creating them. Hence it does not cover the basic steps of entering data and creating a chart from scratch. It assumes you know how to make a simple chart (in MS Excel and/or MS PowerPoint). However, in case of advanced usage (like adding a secondary axis to your chart) each and every step is explained in detail.

Please Note: 1. All the tips on creating charts are based on MS PowerPoint 2007. However, people using older version should not find any problem is using the tips contained in the ebook.
2. This e-book uses the words ‘charts’ and ‘graphs’ interchangeably.

Page 3 of 39

....................... 35 Page 4 of 39 www............................................................... 20 Tip #8: Chart Legend ......... 21 Tip #9: Chart Axis .................................................... 26 Tip #11: Chart Colours ........................................................... 30 Tip #13: Highlighting ........................................................................................................................ 27 Tip #12: Chart Animation ..............allaboutpresentations...... 23 Tip #10: Data Source ....................... 18 Tip #7: Data Labels .................................................... 32 Tip #14: Chart Aesthetics ......................................................................................................................................................... 10 Tip #4: What is your key message? ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 15 Tip #5: Chart Title............. 5 Tip #2: Do you really need a chart? ......................................E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Contents Tip #1: The Bigger Picture .......................................................................................................................... 7 Tip #3: Which chart type should you use? ................................... 17 Tip #6: Number of Data Points ..............................................................................................................................................

You create a chart from raw data with a purpose. You decide on the chart type. not many might . But.allaboutpresentations. how do you present this data which will prove your point (that sale is indeed growing well)? You can do the following:     Create a chart (the most obvious choice.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #1: The Bigger Picture When you create a chart you make a series of decisions (consciously or otherwise). chart colour. 4. but not necessarily the best one) Create a table Make an infographic (more on it in Tip #2) Simply type out the data on the slide Making a Chart: A 4 Step Process 1. If you just say this. or To prove or disprove something You might be trying to prove that sale in your area is growing very fast. 2. Hence. What is your key message? Do you really need a chart to support your key message? Which chart type should you use? How should you design your chart? Page 5 of 39 www. you support it with data. What is the starting point of it all? It all starts from what is the point you are trying to make. 3. Your purpose can be the following:   To share information. etc.

"What is the point you are making?" Amidst all this design they forgot the key message. need for a chart and chart type. But if you are unable to get it across (which is the role played by chart design) then all this preparation falls flat. You can throw them off balance if you ask. I call them North Pole Presenters. They totally neglect chart design. there are two broad areas which you need to consider. These are South Pole Presenters. They spend more time on chart design. Then there are presenters who get lost in small details and forget the overall picture. Where do you find yourself in this world? The best place to be is in the middle. shadow and .allaboutpresentations. colours Animation. They come first and have to be answered. highlight and aesthetics Chart Core or Chart Design: Which is more important? Many people worry only about the chart core. source. markers. Chart core has more to do with what you are presenting and chart design has everything to do with how you are presenting it.    Chart title. This neglect might come from ignorance or lack of care. A healthy mix of both is the recipe for an awesome chart. Chart design includes the other ten areas. data points and data labels Legend. the need for a chart and the right chart type form the chart core. [Click here to read the original blog post] Page 6 of 39 www.   Chart Core. chart axis. They try various kinds of line colours. These people spend more time on the first three areas of making a chart: key message. Give equal importance to Chart Core and Chart Design.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations After deciding to make a chart. choose the right chart type and know what you are presenting. It is very important to crunch data. and Chart Design Your key message.

We will now answer the following questions:    What is a Chart? When should you use a chart? What are the alternatives to a chart? What is a Chart? Chart (or Graph) is a visual representation of raw data serving many purposes: 1. “What value do I add when I present this raw data in the form of a chart?” What happens if you just presented the raw data in the form of a table? If your chart does not add any value and does not fulfil any of the four objectives above.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #2: Do you really need a chart? You have by now understood that your key message is the point you are trying to make and chart is just one of the mediums to do that. 3. If you present this raw data in the form of a table.allaboutpresentations. It makes data easy to understand It reveals relationships between data It amplifies the impact of data It converts raw data into useful information for managerial decision making When should you use a chart? You have some raw data which will support the point you are trying to make. ask yourself this question. 2. do you think you will be able to impress the new recruits? The impact of this table is . How about presenting it like the bar graph below. do not make it. Page 7 of 39 www.1: Your organization has grown leaps and bounds in the last 30 years. 4. Example 2. Before making the chart. To prove this to the new recruits you have this raw data. This is your key message.

1 we saw a table and in example 2. This is very low and you want the management to take strong cognizance. In example 2. Make an infographic Point 1 and 2 are simple to understand. try some other option. What are the alternatives to a chart? You have decided that chart is not a good medium to deliver your key message.2 we saw how to type out the data on the slide. 1. Here are two ways of presenting this information: It is much better to put the number in limelight and initiate a discussion rather than putting just another pie and diluting the power of this information. A chart which has one bar or a pie which has one number does not make much sense.allaboutpresentations. In that case you have the following options.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations These New York Skyscrapers will nail the point in the minds of the audience very well. This visual representation meets objectives 1 (easy to understand) and 3 (amplifies the impact). Page 8 of 39 www. In these cases. Simply type out the data on the slide . Use charts only when you have more than one data point Never make a chart with one data point.2: You conducted a market research and found that your product’s market share is 5%. Example 2. Create a table 2.

com . instead of making a table. How do you present this information? Because you have one data point. How about this? This is a much more evolved way of presenting information.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Infographic: This is a very unique and interesting way of presenting information. you should not use a chart. [Click here to read the original blog post] Page 9 of 39 www. Be ready to look beyond charts. Make charts which add some value to the information and enhance audience understanding. If you are comparing the sales of three countries. Look at the following example: Example 2.3: 16. Keep your options open.allaboutpresentations.7% of the world population lives is India. you can try plotting the numbers on a map.

We already covered 3 above. Look at the following image. There are pies. Compare data B. So instead of worrying about 74 chart types. A. we will keep it aside. Break up data into parts C. This is the framework which will help you choose the right chart type. 3. See data over time From the interplay between A.allaboutpresentations.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #3: Which chart type should you use? After you have decided to go for a chart. answer the following question: What are you doing with your raw data? You can do the following: 1. B and C we get 3 more cases. Look at the image carefully. donuts and even spiders up for grabs. . 4. How do you decide which chart to choose? Do yourself a favour by not going to ‘Insert Chart’ in MS PowerPoint. Break down parts of data and see over time (F=B+C) We shall deal with each one of them with simple examples from real life. Break data into parts and compare the sub-parts (D=A+B) E. We are going to study 6 types of uses a data can be put to. PowerPoint gives you 74 types of charts under 11 varieties. Which chart type to use depends on what you are doing with your data. Comparing data over time (E=A+C) F. Compare data Break data into smaller parts to see what it is composed of See data over time Discover correlation between two sets of data Because correlation is an advanced usage and is used very rarely. the first decision you have to make is about the chart type. We now have three main usages of data. Page 10 of 39 www. 2.

E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations A. The presentation is comparing per capita consumption of shampoo in India to other . South. However a pie chart is the most preferred choice. stacked bar graphs and normal bar graphs.allaboutpresentations. Bar graphs are of two kinds. This data can be presented in three ways. Some examples of what it means to break data into parts are as follows: i. Rings a bell? When you are comparing data. East & West India? What is the market share of various soap brands in the US? Example B: Shareholding Pattern as of June 30. Example A: Per Capita Consumption of Shampoo in India in USD The chart on the left has been taken from Hindustan Unilever’s investor presentation. 2009 of Infosys. The vertical one looks better. Break data into parts When you break down data to analyze what it is comprised of then you can use pie charts. column (vertical) and horizontal. ii. B. use a bar graph. Compare data When you are comparing data you are pitting them against each other. What’s the best way to compare your height with your sister’s height? Make both of you stand near each other. Though both the graphs serve the same purpose and can be used interchangeably you should prefer vertical graphs because it is easier for the eyes to compare vertical distances. How much sales of your brand comes from North. Page 11 of 39 www. Here you are breaking down the equity share holding of various entities and hence you should use pie charts. I have recreated the same in horizontal bar as well (right).

2009). Going by the old logic our slide looks like this: Page 12 of 39 www. How would you present this chart? Because we are breaking down shareholding into its sub-divisions. area graphs and bar charts. However. The area chart and the line chart serve the same purpose here. Break data into parts and compare the sub-parts (Compare + Break data into parts) Example D: In Example B we saw how to break down the shareholding pattern of Infosys into its . I advise you to stick to pie charts when breaking down data into parts.allaboutpresentations.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations The chart in the middle is a normal bar whereas the one on the extreme right is a stacked bar graph. C. you can use line graphs. ii. iii. D. Stock price for last 12 months Sales & profits of a company over time Number of employees in an organization over time Example C: You want to invest in the shares of Reliance Industries so you want to see its stock price over the last three months. I now ask you to compare the shareholding patterns of Infosys with Wipro & Polaris (as of June 30. The same data can actually be presented as a bar graph. The area graph actually accentuates the movements of the stock price. we should use pie charts. Here are two ways you can present this chart. Examples where you compare data over time are: i. bar graph will make the chart cluttered because the number of data points is very large. See data over time For presenting data over time .

E. it is tougher to understand and compare while looking at 3 charts. you broke up each company's shareholding pattern.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Suddenly. Having 15-20 vertical bars make a slide cluttered. Look now at the right way of presenting.allaboutpresentations. you should prefer line over bar. Second. you compared the smaller chunks with each other. the pie is complicating things. How do you present this data? The line graph and bar graph both can be used. as the number of data points keep going up. This Stacked Bar Chart looks better. Stacked Bar Chart helps you do that much better than a pie chart. Remember you have done two things here. First we need more space for 3 charts and second. The analysis here could be that Wipro is far more closely held (high promoter holding) than Polaris and Wipro. Comparing data over time (Compare + See data over time) When we compare two or more pieces of data across many time periods we can use Bar Graph or Line . Avoid bars as soon as the number of data points crosses 15. However. To do any meaningful analysis you need to understand data first. Page 13 of 39 www. Example E: You have sales and profits data of your company for the past 17 years. One.

Breaking data into parts and seeing it over time When you have to break down data into parts and then see how the parts shape up over a period of time what should you use? You can use both these charts. Avoid them. stacked bar graph and stacked area graphs. Example F: You are studying world's consumption of cooking oil over time.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations F. Then we are looking at how the sub-types change over time. I have not discussed about special charts like . This is the data you have (it is a hypothetical data). Summary You should remember these six cases or six treatments which your data can go through. You should present this data using either a stacked bar chart (right) or a stacked area graph (left). [Click here to read the blog post] Page 14 of 39 www. we have broken down world consumption into four oil sub-types. Here is a ready reckoner to remind you of which chart to use when. If you look closely. They tend to confuse the audience and don’t add much value. radars and donuts because they are complex.allaboutpresentations.

Don't be verbose and make it too long. Know what point you are trying to make/prove/disprove with the help of your chart. You are making an argument in the presentation.allaboutpresentations. Make sure it is clearly visible and readable. So they have added a key message below the chart. Don't eat words and make it small. 3. Two is just too many. We are concerned only with how to present it in the form of a chart. 2. Page 15 of 39 www.1: Look at this chart from the investor presentation of Hindustan Unilever (HUL). You can also write it in a box near the chart. Every presentation has an objective. Example . Being the biggest spender in India on advertising. Write down the key message on the slide in one complete sentence.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #4: What is your key message? The process of making a chart starts from the key message. you need to know the following: 1. HUL's spend on advertising and promotion (A&P) has gone down in this quarter. Investors have nothing to worry. How should you present your charts’ key message? To make an awesome chart. They say. even though they are spending less yet they remain competitive in spends on brand building. Know what your key message is. You should know what you want to talk about. their investors might be worried seeing this chart. How you arrive at the key message is beyond the scope of this e-book. You should write down the key message on your slide header. Do not have more than one key message for every chart. Each chart adds to that argument in a small way. 4.

Look at the chart from Starbucks below: Example 4. We now move on to Chart Design. Page 16 of 39 www. There is nothing more that they want to communicate. 2008 This chart merely tells you that the number of stores is on the rise.2: Starbucks performance in its Annual Report. [Click here to read the blog post] This marks the end of our topics on Chart Core. no key messages here.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Exception to the Rule: When you are just sharing information and there is nothing ‘key’ to share with the . the chart need not have a key message. Hence.allaboutpresentations.

Try removing the title from a chart you would have presented recently. Realize they have limited exposure time to see and understand the . A simple solution to all your problem is this: Put chart title in every chart you make. 1. How does an investor figure this out? You are (subconsciously) assuming your audience knows what you know.1: Take a look at this chart from an investor presentation by Hindustan Unilever (HUL). What is the pie chart showing? Break up of sales (turnover) or profits (EBIT)? Obviously sales? You know this but the investors do not.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #5: Chart Title Purpose of having a Chart Title A chart title tells the audience what the chart is for. Having a proper title will eliminate such confusion. Hence you omit some information by mistake. Chart title should be descriptive and not too short. The audience will take more time to grasp it. It helps the audience read and understand the chart faster. Remember that the audience gets only a few seconds to see the chart and make sense of it while you are presenting. Chart title should also have the time period mentioned. Admit that it is they who will decide whether your charts are good or bad. Example 5. The year should be written in full. 2. 2008-09 is better than 08-09. What should a Chart Title be like? The title tells the reader what the data on display is and helps him/her understanding it faster and better.allaboutpresentations. Summary Understand who your audience is. [Click here to read the blog post] Page 17 of 39 www.

Page 18 of 39 www. So when you 'present' your chart you must have only 10 data points. you might need 20 data points but to prove the point in the presentation you might only need 10. The key message here is 'that our organization has grown leaps and bounds over the last three decades’. Take a look at this new chart. How do you decide on the correct number of data points? As you know. But think of the new employee looking through this and trying to read 14 data points. The more data points your chart has. This is how the chart looks. They are sharing how their organisation has grown leaps and bounds in the last three decades. the more complex the chart becomes. you might need to analyze 14 data points. The more the data points. 2. Example 6. a chart is used to prove or disprove a point to the audience. Audience understanding is inversely proportional to the no. When presenting data over time. there is 1 bar for each of the 4 data points.allaboutpresentations. What is a Data Point? If your pie chart has 10 parts then it has 10 data points.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #6: Number of Data Points After choosing the chart type and giving a chart a proper title.1 (Tip #2) Good. To make this argument. We have seen this chart already in Example 2. then you will need 365 data points (actually you would need somewhere around 310 because there are 52 Sundays plus some holidays when the share market is closed). If the bar chart has 4 vertical bars.1: KK Consultants (name changed) are making a presentation to the new employees of their organization. you now need to consider how many data points to display on the . If you are making a one year chart of the stock price of Infosys. In order to do the analysis. What to remember while choosing the number of data points? 1. but to present you can manage with only 4. the lesser the audience will understand in a given time. of data points your chart has. choose data points at equal time gaps.

1985. 1980. Example . Visually all data points look equally far away from each other in time. Look closely at the chosen data points. But with 4 data points. 2000 and 2005. 1995. By reading 14 data points.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Great! An audience to understand 14 data points will take time and does not add much value. This situation should be avoided. 1990. the audience gets the key message far more easily and far more powerfully. Humans cannot mentally analyze so many data points.2: Look at this chart from the American Heart Association. it is tough to draw this conclusion (added 2 employees per day!). 1979. [Click here to read the original post] Page 19 of 39 www. It talks about the heart disease mortality rates (deaths in thousands for males and females). While 1980 to 2005 are at 5 year gaps. there is also an unwanted 1979. Choose equidistant data points.allaboutpresentations. But they are not.

Use different colours for labelling different graphs (in this case. [Click here to see more examples in the original blog post] Page 20 of 39 www. All relevant data points should be labelled. the label for the line graph was above the . What you must remember about labelling your data? 1. 2. 93.7. Labels on a pie chart can be inside the pie or outside. Do you still need to label all 10 data points? Need not. Right? Wrong! Take a look again. It depends on what point you are trying to prove with the chart (key message). For the next three. The solution: If you put a % after the numbers it will be far simpler to read the chart. 19.8. Position the label properly on the chart. You are showing the share price of Reliance Industries from April to June 2009.1: Take a quick look at this chart from ACC and answer this question. 18.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #7: Data Labels After you have chosen the number of data points and created the chart. When the labels are far away. use different label colours for bar and line graph). The objective that drives this choice is how easily readable and understandable the label is. Will you label all the data points? No. The labels should not clutter the chart and hurt audience understanding. You can just label a few data points which help you convey the key message. There is no compulsion to label every data point. For the first two data points. 3. Space them out and make them legible (greater than 18 font size). We discussed in the last post that you might require 30 data points to do your analysis but you can present it with only 10. Use this colour coding when the labels appear so close to each other. Because that will make the chart cluttered and will serve no purpose.9. 20. What is the capacity utilization (%) for the 5 years (see the line graph)? 86. Also. you now need to label your data. be consistent with colour coding of data labels and don’t mess with their positions.allaboutpresentations. it went below the line and changed its colour from black to white. colour coding is not needed. Example 7.

When you don't need a legend? By definition. Few examples of legends Page 21 of 39 www. Why? Reason 1: Because the legend comes by default in the software. as you know.allaboutpresentations. Remember the objective of a legend is to make the chart easy to read. Hence. Top. is a guide that helps the audience read your chart. But there are in total 5 places where you can place it. You don't need it if you are showing the growth of sales over time and have just one line graph (or a series of bar graphs). Most of the graphs you would have seen in your life will have a legend even when there is only one data series. Left. a legend tells you which bar or line chart is for which data series. Where do you place the legend? The legend by default is always placed to the right. Reason 2: Because of your ignorance. Right. you need a legend only if you have more than one data series on your .E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #8: Chart Legend What is a legend? A legend. The legend is a 'visual' symbol of the data series that has been plotted on the chart. Where you place it has a huge impact on the usefulness of the legend. Bottom and Inside the Plot Area (along with the data points). then your legend tells the audience which line denotes which company. If you are comparing the share prices of Microsoft and Yahoo and your chart has two line graphs.

put the series name with the data labels outside the pie itself. sales over time). When using line graphs.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Lesson (pie charts above): Placing the labels outside the pie chart (without having a legend) is much better. 4. To Summarize: . Make it sync with the way data has been presented. Do not use a legend when you have only one data series (example. [Click here to read the blog post] Page 22 of 39 www. label the line graphs instead of putting a legend. Do not create a legend. Place the legend where it is logical. When making pie charts. If your bar goes from left to right then you legend should be read from left to right.allaboutpresentations. Lesson (bar charts below): The legend should be in sync with the bar graphs. 2. 3. Pie chart on the right looks much smarter and friendly. Lesson (line graphs above): Labelling the lines on the right is better than a legend.

E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #9: Chart Axis 1. 3b. Again. Solid Black. 2. You chart will look better with a thicker axis. Which one is better? What should Page 23 of 39 www. because the axis tells you how to read the chart. Line Colour & Styles Choose vertical y-axis -> Format Axis -> Line Colour. 3a. Solid Black. 3. to write down the chart title as ‘Sales (in $mn)’ than to say just ‘Sales’ in chart title and put ‘in $mn’ in axis title. Playing with the axis? Left click to select the axis and then right click to choose Format Axis. at times. It is nothing but a scale (or a ruler). The y-axis now starts counting from 80.allaboutpresentations. It is better. The growth in sales now looks far better than it looked when the axis started from zero. you should know the purpose of an axis. . you should always check out the axis before looking at the bar or line graph. Axis Options Choose the vertical y-axis -> Format Axis -> Axis Options -> Change the 'Minimum' from Auto to Fixed and enter 80. What should you know about an axis? First. Then Line Style -> Width 4. The x-axis and y-axis tells you what are being measured and lets you read the measurements. you have to label the axis with what is being measured and the units of measurement. This is however theory. See what happens. As an audience. Line Style -> Width 4. What is an axis? An axis in a chart or graph is the line along which we measure our variables. An axis tells you what is being measured and also lets you read the values. choose horizontal x-axis -> Format Axis -> Line Color.

Here is the raw data. Here is how your chart looks like: What is wrong with the graph on the left? The software looks at all the values and tries to fix a scale (axis) which includes the maximum value of 500. Hence. You have to make a chart to show the financial highlights of SpaceTel (a hypothetical company). On this we measure the profit percentage. In case you are not doing so.35) becomes . Using our framework from Tip #3. you can create a bar graph or a line graph (because you are comparing data over time). You create a bar graph. By doing this. That 'other' axis is called 'secondary axis'. 4. You should as a rule. it has taken the scale up to 600. for some justified reason. When and how should you use secondary axis? Let us take an example. then you must inform the audience of this aberration.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations you do? Companies in their annual reports do play this trick very often. Page 24 of 39 www.allaboutpresentations. How do you solve this problem? You need a different axis in the same chart. always start you axis from zero. the profit percentage data which is maximum 35% (=0.

Choose a Line Graph. Summary of what you learnt about Axis: 1. You need not label them near the axis. inform the audience about it. Right click and select 'Change Series Chart Type'.com . Your axis should start from zero.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Adding a secondary axis Step-1 Choose the data series 'profit percentage' by clicking next to the profit bar in red. Axis is a scale which tells you what is being measured and its unit of measurement. When you are measuring variables (like sales. Click on the data series again (one click on any green bar will select all bars).allaboutpresentations. 4. Click Ok. These two pieces of information have to be present in every chart. then add a secondary axis. You can mention it with the chart title. [Click here to read the detailed blog post] Page 25 of 39 www. Your chart is ready. In case it does not. 2. 3. profits) whose values are different from each other or the gap between maximum and minimum value is too big. Step-2 Right click -> Format Data Series Step-3 Series Options -> Choose Secondary Axis -> Close \Are you in deeper trouble now? No.

Source of data is optional ii. You are honest does not mean you will not furnish the source of your data. External Credibility . Remember. They might not ask for the source . How and where to mention the source? The source is generally mentioned below the chart in a font size that is easy to read. During your presentation. But." If no. But in how much detail you should mention the source? Ask yourself this question and you will know in how much detail you should write the source: "If your audience wanted to check your data with the source. you need not mention it all the time. It is required when there is a need to boost credibility. It has a source. In which case. A place from where you culled out the data for analysis and representation. the more credibility you require to support it. then re-write the source to make it easier to verify. they need to know if the chart is credible. the taller your claim. Remember.allaboutpresentations. They trust you. In the process of research you would have come across lots of data. tell me the source of data. You have studied the fairness soap market for men in India and in your presentation to the CEO you are recommending to launch a new soap brand. The credibility comes from you (the presenter) and your audience knows about your expertise.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #10: Data Source Your chart is made from raw data.Source of data is necessary When you are presenting something from your area of expertise (domain). your CEO might ask. you do not need to compulsorily mention a source. there are two situations you need to consider: i. Why you need to worry about the source? You are in-charge of new product launches in your company. can they do that easily. but having it on the chart enhances the credibility of your argument. Talking about credibility. the audience would like to know the source of your data. "Where did you get this data from?" All that he is asking for is. [Click here to read the original blog post] Page 26 of 39 www. You can't get away by simply making bold claims and recommendations and not backing it up. you trust yourself more than others trust you. When should you mention the source and when you should not? Though every chart has a source. Internal Credibility . it is possible that you are presenting something outside your domain. But this raw data is not a fiction of your imagination. For the audience to accept your charts' key message (the point you are trying to make).

you have . Colour of the slide. This post is about how to balance the colours on a slide so that chart colours become invisible. Emami Limited. Let's talk data. The way I look at colours is: "Colour is that ingredient of your dish (chart) which does not have a taste of its own. Colour of the chart area. I can see many eyebrows rising. "We make formal presentations and all this colouring has no place in our company. If the colour of your chart is getting noticed. It enhances the taste of the dish without getting noticed.1: Look at this chart from the presentation of the FMCG major.allaboutpresentations." The role of colour is thus two-fold: 1. and 4.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #11: Chart Colours While we are talking about chart colours. Do you even feel like reading the chart? Would you be proud of presenting this chart? How many colours should your chart have? To colour a chart you need to take care of many things. It is not only the colour of the bar or line graph. Colour of the bar/line graph 2." This post is not about how to make your chart colourful and get noticed. Page 27 of 39 www. You need to consider the following four: 1. It has to make the job of audience easy to read the chart 2. It should not distract and draw attention towards itself Example 11. Colour of the plot area 3.

Step – 3: You now have to choose the colour of bar/line graphs from the five types on the left (see image below). make the other two white as well. if your background colour is white then you have to start from that point. You can use shades of the same colour (light and dark blue) if there are two data series.allaboutpresentations. If you have more than two data series use multi colour bar graphs. It is always better to have a white slide background colour. Steps in colouring a chart Step – 1: You start by taking the slide background colour as given. If the slide background is white. Using gradients and images will reduce visibility. You do not decide the slide background colour after creating the chart. When I talk about chart colour I am talking about the colour of these 4 elements (slide. click on the chart area and choose white colour from ‘Format -> Shape Fill’.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Look at this . chart area and bar/line). It is better to use solid colours for the bar graph which provides good contrast with the background colour. To change the colour of the chart area. Plot Area and the Slide Background. plot area. Step – 2: Merge the Chart Area. If your chart has more than one data series (sales & profit) then you have to differentiate between the bar graphs representing these data series. Hence. Page 28 of 39 www. The colour of your bar cannot be seen in isolation from the colours around it.

2. The fewer the number of colours you use. the better your chart . Do not do anything that draws attention of your audience towards the colour of the chart. flashy colours and using images in your bars. They reduce the visibility of your chart.allaboutpresentations. 3. Stay away from gradients. [Click here to read the detailed blog post] Page 29 of 39 www.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Summary 1.

1) is not advertised it is not popular in the media. It draws the attention of the audience and gets your point across very effectively. "You know these big brands.1: You. When slides after slides are static. They will remember this animation and will also remember the message. These four brands regularly advertise and are more popular than Red No. Because your soap brand (Red No. with a clear purpose. Animate the five bar graphs (animation effect: wipe from bottom) and ask the audience to guess the turnover of each brand. Your charts' key message is that your brand is much bigger than the 4 more popular soap brands in the market. It brings your presentation to life. You want to share information in a phased manner 3. At the last. animation comes in to break the monotony. you animate and show whether they were . it is better to animate and present in a sequence. How to animate a chart? We will understand chart animation with the help of an example. After they guess for one brand. How do you draw the attention of the public who are going to give you $100mn if your presentation impresses them? Here is your chart. 1. the CEO of Red Soaps. You should use animation when: 1. When you have too much information to present in a chart. Page 30 of 39 www. You want to draw the audience attention to an important point 2. Example 12. You can present this chart at once and make the point. is presenting at a press conference ahead of your IPO (new share issue to public). When to use animation and why? Animation is a powerful tool. your audience will get the message loud and clear.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #12: Chart Animation By animating a chart we mean animating that line graphs or bar graphs of the chart.allaboutpresentations. Animation would make each data point or series of data points come one after the other. But did you know we are bigger than them?" A better approach: Create a story. when your brand's bar goes past all these popular brands.

Do not animate every possible chart in your presentation ii. Use simple effects like fade.allaboutpresentations. compress. Then only it breaks the monotony and draws audience attention. Do not use wild & weird effects. If used prudently. wipe. [Click here if you wish to read the complete blog post] Page 31 of 39 . Every sub-part of pie should come as fade in. etc. another zoom out and the third fade. iv. the axes and title would be present. animation can become the secret weapon that will give your presentation an undue advantage over others. (Your source data has to be in the ascending order) Step 2: Click on the chart to select it -> Animations Tab (in version 2007) -> Custom Animation -> Add Effect -> Entrance -> Wipe Step 3: In Custom Animation -> Make Direction from Bottom -> Speed Fast -> Start On Click Step 4: Drop down menu -> Effect Options -> Chart Animation Tab -> Group Chart By Category -> Do not Start animation by drawing the background The result: In slide show mode. Do not use wrong effects (line graph coming as 'wipe from bottom'. expand.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Step 1: Right click on your chart -> Edit Data -> Arrange the series in ascending order of sales. horizontal bar coming as 'wipe from left') iii. Do not make one part zoom in. zoom. How to avoid animation misuse? Animation is a 'special' effect which works when used very few times. ascend. Do not do the following: i. Your bar graphs will come one by one mouse click. Do not use more than 1 type of effect in a chart. descend.

You highlight to give a reason for change in values of a variable (a sudden fall in sales. It is possible that industry was in a bad phase and 5% is something to take consolation from. the growth is obvious but the percentage is not.allaboutpresentations. Some instances when you highlight are: i. Like your company's sales graph when compared to 9 other companies. It is not already conspicuous (obvious to the eye). They have highlighted the number 5% which is the change in sales. What do you highlight? You highlight a data point or a data series or a relation between two data points (or series). We are concerned with the verb form here. You highlight to make something stand out.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #13: Highlighting To highlight (verb) means to make something more prominent. You highlight to point out the change in values of a variable (a growth in sales over time).com . When do you highlight something important? By definition. You have plotted sales & profit bar graphs but profit percentage is not captured in the graph. iii. The reason is not captured in the graph and hence needs to be separately mentioned. a dip in share prices). iv. you highlight something that you want to make prominent. You can highlight that. Page 32 of 39 www. By looking at the graph. Examples Illustrating Instance 1 & 2: Chart #1 shows the sales growth of ACC over time. You highlight to bring out the relationship between two variables. It is different from the noun highlight which means the most important part. Something that is already there but as part of a crowd. ii. Remember: Never highlight what puts you in a bad light unnecessarily.

They should have used another colour. Using colour is better and using red even better as it attracts our eyes the most. The growth is mainly organic (which is a good sign). They are giving a reason (a clarification) that the good growth of 22. In Chart 3. This is a good way to stand out. Profit as a percentage of sales is important to know and has not been captured in the graph. Using animation Page 33 of 39 www. the effect will not be as great. Examples Illustrating Instance 3 & 4 Chart #3 is from the website of Reliance Industries.allaboutpresentations. In the same chart. Using shapes and colours along with text. Chart #4 presents the sales and profits of a hypothetical organization. if the RIL bar was given a gradient. '46% is the 3 year average profitability'.1% is not coming majorly from acquisition of another company Fem. and 2. they have also marked stateowned companies and made them stand out by giving it another shade of blue. To bring out this relationship between sales and profits they add a text. But it does not stand out. They are showing quarterly revenue growth over the last 8 quarters. Merely text is not sufficient. How do you highlight something important? If you have carefully observed you will notice that colour and shapes are used to highlight.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Chart #2 has been taken from FMCG major Dabur. Talking about world's largest refining companies they highlight their own place among 16 other companies by giving their bar a red colour. You can highlight by: .

com . Contrary to popular belief it has not come from acquisitions like Fem in 2009-10. Highlights & Key Message Chart highlight is not the same as key message. In Chart #2. Read more on animation in Tip #12.allaboutpresentations. "We have grown very well over the years purely due to the efforts that have been put by the company. after having presented and discussed the growth rates in sales. circle the 22% and make the attached text appear." The highlight in this case supports the key message. on mouse click.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Animation is a medium you should use to highlight something important. the presenter can. While talking about key message we discussed that key message is the point you are trying to prove with your chart (to read about key message click here). [Click here to read the original blog post] Page 34 of 39 www. Highlighting can be a good way of supporting your key message. The key message for Dabur in Chart 2 above could be.

Why bother about chart aesthetics? After all you are a serious presenter. Follow all the steps and within 60 seconds you will have a dramatically improved chart. Technique: After you have made your chart. Here is a technique you can use to dramatically enhance the aesthetic appeal of your chart in 60 seconds.allaboutpresentations. And here I am teaching you aesthetics. Would you be happy showing these to your boss? Chart #1 (Left – Dabur): Do you think your boss would even like to read this chart? Chart #2 (Right – BILT): Will you ever be able to prove your point when you present a chart like this? (Notice that each bar has numbers written inside it. For an audience to understand and read a chart. So why should you bother? Let me show you two formal charts. Page 35 of 39 www. In our context. It simply means the chart has to 'fit' in the slide and should not look out of place.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #14: Chart Aesthetics Aesthetics deals with beauty and taste. Step 1: Remove all the grid lines (major and minor). go through these 10 steps (in any order). chart aesthetics would mean the overall look and feel of a chart. Do you think people would even like to read such a chart? What will they think about you after you have presented this chart? How to enhance the appeal of your chart in 10 easy steps? Aesthetics is a vast subject and leaving it at a theoretical level will not be . It has to be such that your audience can easily read and remember the chart. It does not mean that a chart has to be a piece of art. Assume that you made these charts. It is a presentation in your college or office. A data label which your boss can never read) Go back to Tip #11 on colour and check out the chart by Emami Limited. they need to like it first.

See Tip #9 to know how. Step 8: Club your axis title with your chart title. chart title and data labels. Step 4: Merge the colours of the slide. Sales (in '000 tons). Ensure good contrast between colours of the bars/lines with the background colours. without causing a loss of information. Here is the old chart and the new and improved .E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Step 2: Adjust the size of your chart to balance it with other elements on the slide. This reduces a lot of clutter. This will free some more (valuable) real estate. Step 5: Make the line graph thicker to enhance visibility and appeal. This gives a good frame of reference to the eyes to view the chart. Step 10: Convert your three dimensional chart to a two dimensional one (3D to 2D). This will free a lot of space. If you have re-sized your chart. you must re-adjust the font size. Why? Because the extra 'D' spells disaster. Page 36 of 39 www. Step 7: Delete some data labels which you don't need. If we use these 10 steps on the 1st chart we can get a dramatically better chart. Step 3: Check for the font size and font colour of axis. Step 6: Change the location of your legend.allaboutpresentations. chart area and the plot area. Instead of writing In '000 tons above y-axis you can always make the title as. Step 9: Make the axis lines thicker. Aim for better visibility.

Remember Your chart will be read only if it appeals to the eye. [Click here to read the detailed post which will explain the entire ten steps above as applicable to the makeover example] Page 37 of 39 www. But that does not mean that your chart totally ignores basic design principles.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations If you find any problem in applying these ten steps you can check out the detailed step-bystep explanation on the blog here. Every presenter is a designer and it's time you stood up and took notice. You don't need a piece of .

Ask your friends and colleagues to also join in the fun. Best of luck on your journey to make better charts. Every time you see a chart. You will always find a co-traveller in me. After a Page 38 of 39 www. Develop Basic Charting Skills: Develop your basics through practice. Learn from Others: Download and watch investor presentations of large multinational companies from their website. 4. Be rest assured that that you are not alone.allaboutpresentations. You just need to ask. 2. Know how to play with excel charts.allaboutpresentations. Take Interest and Discuss: Follow a presentation blog (like my All About Presentations) which writes about charts regularly. If you get stuck refrain from calling your colleague. you can do four things. chart type and chart design). 1. Visit slideshare and check out the most voted presentations in your area of interest. Were they able to understand it easily or was something missing? People will always share . spend some extra time thinking about the four areas (key message. Solve it with help from your inbuilt software and from Google search.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations What Next? To continue to learn more about presenting charts. Extra Effort: The next time you are going to make a chart. chart need. stop and ask why you like or hate it? Seek help and feedback from others. you can always ask your colleagues on how they liked the charts. See you on the blog! www. 3. Start a conversation to try and understand what is being said and why.

in any which way. on the style of working of any .E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Disclaimer: All the charts that have been taken from corporate websites and investor presentations have been used for purely academic purposes. Page 39 of 39 www. The e-book does not intend to comment.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful