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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Chart Types

Although there's a lot to be said for simple column charts—they can illuminate trends in almost any spreadsheet—there's nothing quite as impressive as successfully pulling off the exotic bubble chart. This section covers the wide range of charts that Excel offers. If you can use these specialized chart types when they make sense, you can convey more information and make your point more effectively.

Note

The following sections explain all of the Excel chart types. To experiment on your own, try out the downloadable examples, which you can find on the Missing CD page at www.missingmanuals.com/cds. The examples include worksheets that show most chart types. Remember, to change a chart from one type to another, just select it, and then make a new choice from the ribbon's Insert→Charts section, or use the Chart Tools | Design→Type→Change Chart Type command.

Column

By now, column charts probably seem like old hat. But column charts actually come in several different variations (technically known as subtypes). The main difference between the basic column chart and these subtypes is how they deal with data tables that have multiple series. The quickest way to understand the difference is to look at Figure 17-15, which shows a sample table of data, and Figure 17-16, which charts it using several different types of column charts.

This simple table of data records the number of female and male students in several rooms at a university. The category is the room name, and there are two data series: the numbers of male students, and the numbers of female students. This data is perfect for a column chart, but different subtypes emphasize different aspects of the data, as you can see in Figure 17-16.

Figure 17-15. This simple table of data records the number ...

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