10 x 10 tips to improve your (Excel or not) charts: the scatter plot

This is the time for scatter plots in the 10 x 10 charting tips series:

  1. A scatter plot is square by definition (I forget that sometimes…);
  2. In some cases, it makes more sense to use a scatter plot than two column charts: for example, instead of having a column chart to display product market share and another chart to display product growth, consider merging both into a scatter plot (market share on the x axis and growth on the y axis);
  3. If you are plotting several data series, color code them instead of using different markers…
  4. … but consider using several charts;
  5. In scatter plots, use empty circles as markers to let the reader see the overlapping points;
  6. Use a scatter plot matrix to analyze pairwise relationships between series;
  7. Use a scatter plot as an alternative to horizontal bar charts, like in a population pyramid;
  8. If needed, use a scatter plot instead of a line chart if you have an unevenly-spaced time series;
  9. You can use a scatter plot to create a basic map;
  10. An outline can ruin your scatter plot. If possible, remove it and explain it;

As you can see, you can use a scatter plot in Excel to create many other charts. Just use your imagination and share it in the comments.