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Tips To Present Awesome Charts
Vivek Singh

Chillibreeze and 24point0 extend our thanks to Vivek Singh for extending his expert advice and tips to Vivek Singh, MBA and author of the popular blog All About Presentations answers all your queries on PowerPoint 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 (

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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.

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

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 decide on the chart type. 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. Your purpose can be the following:   To share information. You create a chart from raw data with a purpose. Hence. 4. or To prove or disprove something You might be trying to prove that sale in your area is growing very fast. 2. 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. not many might believe. What is the starting point of it all? It all starts from what is the point you are trying to make. 3.allaboutpresentations. etc.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). you support it with data. If you just say this. chart colour. .

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

do not make it.allaboutpresentations. do you think you will be able to impress the new recruits? The impact of this table is nil.1: Your organization has grown leaps and bounds in the last 30 years. 2. Example 2. 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.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. ask yourself this question. Before making the chart. 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. This is your key message. If you present this raw data in the form of a table. 4. Page 7 of 39 www. To prove this to the new recruits you have this raw data. How about presenting it like the bar graph below. “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 .

Page 8 of 39 www. Create a table 2. 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.2: You conducted a market research and found that your product’s market share is 5%. This visual representation meets objectives 1 (easy to understand) and 3 (amplifies the impact). In these cases.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. In example 2. Use charts only when you have more than one data point Never make a chart with one data point. Make an infographic Point 1 and 2 are simple to understand. Simply type out the data on the slide 3. 1. try some other option.allaboutpresentations. 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. Example 2. This is very low and you want the management to take strong cognizance. In that case you have the following options. A chart which has one bar or a pie which has one number does not make much .1 we saw a table and in example 2.

you can try plotting the numbers on a map.7% of the world population lives is India. If you are comparing the sales of three countries. How about this? This is a much more evolved way of presenting information. How do you present this information? Because you have one data point.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Infographic: This is a very unique and interesting way of presenting information.allaboutpresentations. you should not use a chart. Look at the following example: Example . [Click here to read the original blog post] Page 9 of 39 www. Make charts which add some value to the information and enhance audience understanding.3: 16. instead of making a table. Keep your options open. Be ready to look beyond charts.

So instead of worrying about 74 chart types. . We now have three main usages of data. the first decision you have to make is about the chart type. Look at the image carefully. PowerPoint gives you 74 types of charts under 11 varieties. Break up data into parts C. donuts and even spiders up for grabs. There are pies. Look at the following image. We are going to study 6 types of uses a data can be put to. Page 10 of 39 www. A.allaboutpresentations. Which chart type to use depends on what you are doing with your data. How do you decide which chart to choose? Do yourself a favour by not going to ‘Insert Chart’ in MS PowerPoint. Compare data B. 4. 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. See data over time From the interplay between A. we will keep it aside. 2. This is the framework which will help you choose the right chart type.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. 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. We already covered 3 above. Comparing data over time (E=A+C) F. B and C we get 3 more cases. answer the following question: What are you doing with your raw data? You can do the following: 1. 3. Break data into parts and compare the sub-parts (D=A+B) E.

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

bar graph will make the chart cluttered because the number of data points is very large. Here are two ways you can present this chart. However. C. you can use line graphs. The same data can actually be presented as a bar graph. How would you present this chart? Because we are breaking down shareholding into its sub-divisions.allaboutpresentations. area graphs and bar charts. D. I advise you to stick to pie charts when breaking down data into parts. See data over time For presenting data over time . 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 sub-parts. Examples where you compare data over time are: i. The area graph actually accentuates the movements of the stock price. we should use pie charts. The area chart and the line chart serve the same purpose . iii. Going by the old logic our slide looks like this: Page 12 of 39 www. I now ask you to compare the shareholding patterns of Infosys with Wipro & Polaris (as of June 30. 2009). 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.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. ii.

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

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

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

com . Page 16 of 39 www. Hence. no key messages here.2: Starbucks performance in its Annual Report. [Click here to read the blog post] This marks the end of our topics on Chart Core. There is nothing more that they want to communicate.allaboutpresentations. Look at the chart from Starbucks below: Example 4. the chart need not have a key message.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 audience. 2008 This chart merely tells you that the number of stores is on the rise. We now move on to Chart Design.

Hence you omit some information by mistake. [Click here to read the blog post] Page 17 of 39 www.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. Having a proper title will eliminate such confusion. Try removing the title from a chart you would have presented recently. Summary Understand who your audience is. The year should be written in full. The audience will take more time to grasp it. How does an investor figure this out? You are (subconsciously) assuming your audience knows what you know. Remember that the audience gets only a few seconds to see the chart and make sense of it while you are presenting. 1. 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. 2. A simple solution to all your problem is this: Put chart title in every chart you make. Realize they have limited exposure time to see and understand the chart. Chart title should be descriptive and not too short.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. It helps the audience read and understand the chart . Example 5. Admit that it is they who will decide whether your charts are good or bad. Chart title should also have the time period mentioned. 2008-09 is better than 08-09.

1: KK Consultants (name changed) are making a presentation to the new employees of their organization. Audience understanding is inversely proportional to the no. you now need to consider how many data points to display on the chart. 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’. Example 6. What to remember while choosing the number of data points? 1. This is how the chart looks. But think of the new employee looking through this and trying to read 14 data points. 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. of data points your chart has. To make this argument.1 (Tip #2) Good. We have seen this chart already in Example 2. So when you 'present' your chart you must have only 10 data points. In order to do the analysis. When presenting data over time.allaboutpresentations. If the bar chart has 4 vertical bars. They are sharing how their organisation has grown leaps and bounds in the last three decades. 2. there is 1 bar for each of the 4 data points. If you are making a one year chart of the stock price of Infosys. The more data points your chart has. How do you decide on the correct number of data points? As you . the more complex the chart becomes. but to present you can manage with only 4. the lesser the audience will understand in a given time. you might need to analyze 14 data points. The more the data points. a chart is used to prove or disprove a point to the audience. choose data points at equal time gaps. Take a look at this new chart. 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). Page 18 of 39 www.

com . it is tough to draw this conclusion (added 2 employees per day!). 1985. 2000 and 2005.allaboutpresentations.2: Look at this chart from the American Heart Association. It talks about the heart disease mortality rates (deaths in thousands for males and females). But with 4 data points. While 1980 to 2005 are at 5 year gaps. Humans cannot mentally analyze so many data points. But they are not. This situation should be avoided.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. Visually all data points look equally far away from each other in time. By reading 14 data points. 1990. Choose equidistant data points. Look closely at the chosen data points. [Click here to read the original post] Page 19 of 39 www. 1980. the audience gets the key message far more easily and far more powerfully. there is also an unwanted 1979. 1995. 1979. Example 6.

It depends on what point you are trying to prove with the chart (key message). The objective that drives this choice is how easily readable and understandable the label is. Use this colour coding when the labels appear so close to each other. 2. 20. be consistent with colour coding of data labels and don’t mess with their positions. Will you label all the data points? No. For the first two data points.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 . Right? Wrong! Take a look again. Example 7. The labels should not clutter the chart and hurt audience understanding. What you must remember about labelling your data? 1. Space them out and make them legible (greater than 18 font size). you now need to label your data. Do you still need to label all 10 data points? Need 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. the label for the line graph was above the line.8. There is no compulsion to label every data point. For the next three.9. You can just label a few data points which help you convey the key message. Position the label properly on the chart. 19. 3. All relevant data points should be labelled. 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. When the labels are far away. You are showing the share price of Reliance Industries from April to June 2009. Because that will make the chart cluttered and will serve no purpose. What is the capacity utilization (%) for the 5 years (see the line graph)? 86. 18.7.allaboutpresentations. 93. use different label colours for bar and line graph). Labels on a pie chart can be inside the pie or outside. colour coding is not needed. The solution: If you put a % after the numbers it will be far simpler to read the chart.1: Take a quick look at this chart from ACC and answer this question. Also. it went below the line and changed its colour from black to white.

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

If your bar goes from left to right then you legend should be read from left to right. When making pie charts. When using line graphs. put the series name with the data labels outside the pie . label the line graphs instead of putting a legend. Do not create a legend. Make it sync with the way data has been presented. 3. 2. Do not use a legend when you have only one data series (example. Lesson (bar charts below): The legend should be in sync with the bar graphs. [Click here to read the blog post] Page 22 of 39 www. 4. To Summarize: 1. Pie chart on the right looks much smarter and friendly.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.allaboutpresentations. Lesson (line graphs above): Labelling the lines on the right is better than a legend. Place the legend where it is logical. sales over time).

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

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

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

it is possible that you are presenting something outside your domain. It has a source. You can't get away by simply making bold claims and recommendations and not backing it up. Talking about credibility. But this raw data is not a fiction of your imagination. Remember. you need not mention it all the time. the taller your claim. Internal Credibility . The credibility comes from you (the presenter) and your audience knows about your expertise." If . But.Source of data is necessary When you are presenting something from your area of expertise (domain). They might not ask for the source always. [Click here to read the original blog post] Page 26 of 39 www. they need to know if the chart is credible. For the audience to accept your charts' key message (the point you are trying to make). It is required when there is a need to boost credibility. can they do that easily. tell me the source of data. you do not need to compulsorily mention a source. During your presentation. the audience would like to know the source of your data. A place from where you culled out the data for analysis and representation. there are two situations you need to consider: i.E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #10: Data Source Your chart is made from raw data. but having it on the chart enhances the credibility of your argument.allaboutpresentations. the more credibility you require to support it. 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. you trust yourself more than others trust you. In which case. Why you need to worry about the source? You are in-charge of new product launches in your company. You are honest does not mean you will not furnish the source of your data. How and where to mention the source? The source is generally mentioned below the chart in a font size that is easy to read. then re-write the source to make it easier to verify.Source of data is optional ii. When should you mention the source and when you should not? Though every chart has a source. your CEO might ask. Remember. External Credibility . In the process of research you would have come across lots of data. They trust you. "Where did you get this data from?" All that he is asking for is. 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.

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

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

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

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

horizontal bar coming as 'wipe from left') iii. Do not make one part zoom in. another zoom out and the third fade. Every sub-part of pie should come as fade in.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. compress. zoom. [Click here if you wish to read the complete blog post] Page 31 of 39 www. ascend. Then only it breaks the monotony and draws audience attention. iv. If used prudently. Do not animate every possible chart in your presentation . descend. animation can become the secret weapon that will give your presentation an undue advantage over others. How to avoid animation misuse? Animation is a 'special' effect which works when used very few times. expand. the axes and title would be present. etc. Do not do the following: i. Use simple effects like fade. wipe. (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.allaboutpresentations. Do not use wrong effects (line graph coming as 'wipe from bottom'. Do not use wild & weird effects. Your bar graphs will come one by one mouse click. Do not use more than 1 type of effect in a chart.

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

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

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

It simply means the chart has to 'fit' in the slide and should not look out of place. 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 good. Page 35 of 39 www. 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 . So why should you bother? Let me show you two formal charts. they need to like it first. Here is a technique you can use to dramatically enhance the aesthetic appeal of your chart in 60 seconds. It has to be such that your audience can easily read and remember the chart. For an audience to understand and read a chart. go through these 10 steps (in any order). It is a presentation in your college or office. And here I am teaching you aesthetics. It does not mean that a chart has to be a piece of art. Assume that you made these charts. Technique: After you have made your chart. A data label which your boss can never read) Go back to Tip #11 on colour and check out the chart by Emami Limited. In our context. chart aesthetics would mean the overall look and feel of a chart. Follow all the steps and within 60 seconds you will have a dramatically improved chart. Step 1: Remove all the grid lines (major and minor).E-Book: 14 Tips to Present Awesome Charts All About Presentations Tip #14: Chart Aesthetics Aesthetics deals with beauty and taste. Why bother about chart aesthetics? After all you are a serious presenter.

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

allaboutpresentations. You don't need a piece of . But that does not mean that your chart totally ignores basic design principles. [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.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. Remember Your chart will be read only if it appeals to the eye.

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

on the style of working of any organization. Page 39 of 39 www. The e-book does not intend to comment. in any which .allaboutpresentations.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.