Programs: Microsoft Excel: Lesson #2


                       

Lesson #2: In this lesson we will learn about the different types of charts and graphs there are and their advantages and disadvantages.
The main topics of lesson #2 are:
  • Pie Charts
  • Exploded Pie Charts
  • Three Dimensional Pie Charts
  • Column/Bar Charts
  • Line Charts
  • Combination Charts
  • Simplicity of the Message
Lesson #2: What are some different types of charts that are available to you?
Topic # 1 Pie Charts

Definition: A pie chart presents information in proportions, out of a 100 or as part of a whole. The values are usually given in percentages (%).
Advantages: Pie charts have several advantages to them. They are both an informative way to depict proportional statistical information and allow for easy comparisons.  
Disadvantages: These would be that they can only depict up to 8 slices without causing confusion.  Anymore that that could mislead readers and not convey the message you are trying to get across.  Also, categories that represent less than 5% of the whole cannot be easily distinguished in the graph.
Topic # 2 Exploded Pie Charts
Definition:  There really isn’t a big difference between a pie chart and an exploded pie chart. An exploded  pie chart’s slices are separated to show more emphasis on each slice.
Advantages: The emphasis placed on information, therefore it allows to convey the idea, or the goal much more effectively.
Disadvantages: The fact that too much emphasis can be misleading and distracting is a small disadvantage.
Topic # 3 Three Dimensional Pie Charts
Definition: A 3 dimensional pie chart is simply displayed in 3-D form. You can see the profile of the chart for a better visual effect!
 
Advantages: The visual effect of the chart makes the presentation look better, more attractive. It dramatically helps to emphasize the data.
Disadvantages: Too much of “cool” graphics may distract the reader from understanding the information which the presenter is trying to convey.
Topic # 4 Column/Bar Charts

Definition: Column and Bar charts are used to present information in real numbers. Such as 20 dogs, 15 chips, 10 bicycles, etc.
 
Advantages: It shows exact quantities in real numbers, so you don’t have to convert percentages into number as with pie charts. Thus, the information is much more distinct and obvious. 
Disadvantages: If the category labels are too long, they may not fit completely on the x-axis without making it too crowded.  The range of the y-axis numbers and the inexactitude of bars make it difficult to determine the exact value.
Advantages: Bar charts help in making the categories stand out from one another, therefore making it easier to compare each category. It allows for more space in labeling the axis.
Disadvantages: The problem with placing category labels on the y-axis is that humans are more used to interpreting numbers on the y-axis. Therefore, it takes away the attention from the actual numbers, and may confuse the reader.
Topic # 5 Line Charts
Definition: All of you have seen a line chart at some point in your life, maybe even everyday! It plots points and then connects them with a line.
 
Advantages: The lines are continuous and that is a benefit when dealing with data derived from time. It also allows for easy comparisons between different lines.

 

Disadvantages: Having multiple lines in the same chart can prove to be a bit confusing to an inexperienced interpreter. It is also difficult to plot data that is not continuous on these types of graphs.
 
Topic # 6

Combination Charts

Definition: The name of the chart practically speaks for itself. It presents two or more different types of graphs at the same time on the same plane.
 
Advantages: It displays various sets of data at the same time, allowing for complex comparisons to be made. And it allows for different scales to be used for different data.
Disadvantages: 
Too much complicated, strange data may confuse the reader and it also makes it difficult the emphasize the main point of the graph display.
Topic # 7

Simplicity of the Message

dDefinition:
nIn order to convey the message clearly, keep the graph/chart as simple as possible.
n
nAs simple as it may be, the chart will be most effective if everyone can understand it n
 
 
 

Lesson Review

In this lesson you learned:
  • To identify different types of charts by their definition, the advantages and the disadvantages of each type: Pie charts, Exploded Pie Charts, Three Dimensional Pie Charts, Column/Bar Charts, Line Charts, Combination Charts
  • The importance of being clear and straighforward

back to lesson #1

continue to lesson #3

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Programs: Microsoft Excel: Lesson #2