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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Pivot Charts

Excel lets you create charts based on the data in a pivot table. These charts work more or less the same as ordinary Excel charts (Chapter 17). However, pivot charts are typically very dense, so they warrant a couple of extra considerations:

  • Because pivot charts are so dense, many of the specialized chart types don't work well. Instead, stick with simple chart types like column charts and pie charts. One popular choice is the stacked column chart, which helps you see the breakdown of your various groups.

  • Before you create a pivot chart, it's often useful to limit the amount of information in your pivot table. Too much information can lead to a chart that's hard to read. Avoid using too many levels of grouping, and use filtering (as described in the previous section) to cut down on the total amount of information that's shown in the pivot table.

Figure 22-28 shows a sample pivot chart.

In this example, a stacked column chart shows the breakdown of orders by product category and country. Each bar represents a different category and is subdivided into color-coded sections that represent a country (as detailed in the legend). A pivot chart doesn't necessarily show all the data, because you can use filtering to show just a subset of the total information.

Figure 22-28. In this example, a stacked column chart shows the breakdown of orders by product category and country. Each bar represents a different category and is subdivided into color-coded sections that represent a country (as detailed in the legend). A pivot chart doesn't necessarily show all the data, because you can use filtering to show just a subset of the total information.

Creating a Pivot Chart

To create a pivot chart, follow these steps:

  1. Choose PivotTable Tools | Options→Tools→PivotChart ...

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