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Statistical Analysis with Excel® For Dummies®, 2nd Edition by Joseph Schmuller

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Chapter 3. Show and Tell: Graphing Data

In This Chapter

  • Introducing graphs

  • Working with Excel's graphics capabilities

  • Creating graphs for statistical work

The visual presentation of data is extremely important in statistics. Visual presentation enables you to discern relationships and trends you might not see if you just look at numbers. Visual presentation helps in another way: It's valuable for presenting ideas to groups and making them understand your point of view.

Graphs come in many varieties. In this chapter, I explore the types of graphs you use in statistics and when it's advisable to use them. I also show you how to use Excel to create those graphs.

Why Use Graphs?

Suppose you have to make a pitch to a Congressional committee about commercial space revenues in the early 1990s.

Which would you rather present? The data in Table 3-1, or the graph in Figure 3-1 that shows the same data? (The data, by the way, are from the U.S. Department of Commerce, via the Statistical Abstract of the U.S.)

Table 3.1. US Commercial Space Revenues from 1990 through 1994 (In Millions of Dollars)

Industry

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

Commercial Satellites Delivered

1,000

1,300

1,300

1,100

1,400

Satellite Services

800

1,200

1,500

1,850

2,330

Satellite Ground Equipment

860

1,300

1,400

1,600

1,970

Commercial Launches

570

380

450

465

580

Remote Sensing Data

155

190

210

250

300

Commercial R&D Infrastructure

0

0

0

30

60

Total

3,385

4,370

4,860

5,295

6,640

Graphing the data in Table 3-1.

Figure 3.1. Graphing ...

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