Bars and lines: méfiez-vous des morceaux choisis

So, this data visualization thing is new to you, but you already know enough to avoid basic mistakes (pies, 3D…). While playing with the data, you make these two charts: You already know that a bar chart helps you to compare data points, while a line chart is better at displaying trends, right? But you keep … Read more

Bamboo charts: People at risk of poverty or social exclusion

Here is the percentage of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union and a few other countries: We are going to resist the urge to identify them and use our preconceptions against them. Let’s dig deeper instead. Some groups are more exposed to the risk of poverty. Let’s see what … Read more

The Horizon Graph Is a Reorderable Matrix Too: Unemployment Rate 1976-2012

Here is the draft result of my little weekend project, making horizon graphs in Excel: I’m probably using too many color bands, but I like it! The horizon graph is a very compact way to display lots of data points and a shiny example of how to break the rules for a good cause. It … Read more

Animation, Small Multiples or the Reorderable Matrix? Growth of Walmart, Excel Edition

In data visualization, animation is overrated. OK, it’s an interesting option if you can see a clear pattern emerging when displaying data over time/space (and, thanks to animation, we were introduced to this communicator extraordinaire named Hans Rosling). It’s fun to make an animated GIF like the one above, but you must see animation as … Read more

I love 3D bar charts

OK, maybe “love” is too strong a word. Let’s say that 3D column/bar charts are like a tall and ugly building: better appreciated from the top, where you can’t see it but you can enjoy a great view. Like this: Now, change the viewing angle, remove gaps and you get this: I’m shamelessly copying the … Read more

The best of two worlds: the scatterplot pie

The best chart is always task-dependent, but let me assume that you would choose the scatterplot as the best chart and the pie as the worst. They are like water and oil: impossible to mix them! Are they? Let me tell you about a little experiment. I call it the scatterplot pie just for fun, … Read more

The Unbearable Lightness of Pie Charts [Data Visualization for Excel Users]

Well, a data visualization book cannot avoid pie charts, so here it is, a page about pie charts for my tutorial Data Visualization for Excel Users. Enjoy and comment, please…

Making maps in Excel: cross-stitching edition

There are several objects in Excel you can make a map with. If you want to use shapes, you can follow my tutorial. You can also use a scatter plot. The map above uses cells and conditional formatting. So, here is how to do it (this example used population data): Get a table from the US Census … Read more

Excel Charts meet William Playfair

Are you sure you can recognize an Excel chart from miles away? I thought that too. Then I started playing with some data visualization historical milestones and now I’m not so sure. Trying to recreate these charts in Excel is a great way to improve your Excel skills and pay a humble tribute to the data … Read more

The same data, the same map, different stories

Choropleth maps are the pie charts of cartography. Both can show us a simple pattern, but that’s a very low starting point. And both have severe perceptual issues. One of the issues with maps is how to define classes. Gregor published last Friday an interesting post and I wanted to play with the same data, percentage of … Read more