by October 9, 2006 0 comments

Graphs are graphs, right? Well, with Excel 2007 your graphs can be a lot more
than a flat geometrical shape with a small number of ways it could look like.
You can have 3D canvases, 3D graphs, shaded colors, shadows and so on, at the
click of a mouse. Let’s take some sample data of expenditure under different
account heads for a period of one year and see how we can get creative with it.

Step 1: Quick graphs
Select an entire table and click on Insert>Charts>Column and select the
first option under ‘3D Column’. You should see a 3D column graph appear on
your screen. You can additionally select one of line, pie or any of the other
usual formats to draw graphs of that type.

Business users
Learn how to make your graphs in Excel more exciting
excel 12 charts

Just like in earlier versions of Excel, you will be able to generate the
right graphs regardless of how many columns of data you have in your table. But,
instead of having to click through multiple steps in a wizard, the graph will be
on screen in a single click. You can add/remove/edit what rows and columns are
in the chart’s data range using the ‘Edit Data Source’ button from Chart
Tools>Design ribbon.

Select a range of cells, and click on a chart type from the Insert ribbon

Step 2: Adding effects
Now for some effects. On the ribbon bar, you would notice that the Chart Tools
bar has automatically come up with the Design tab opened out. From the ‘Chart
Styles’ section, select a different format. Now, the colors and shadows have
changed. This is unlike what we had previously in Excel where you select each of
these elements (the axis, plot area and so on) and format each one from dialog

Beta 2 behaves rather strangely when you try to make your 2D graph a 3D one.
When you click on the 3D View icon in the ribbon, you get a
dialog that allows you to set up beveling, shadows and so on for the plot area
and not the graph itself.

Click on Switch Row/Column to swap data over the axis

The way to do this correctly is right click on the particular element of the
graph and select ‘Format Data Point’ and set it up from the dialog that
appears. This seems to be a small UI bug in this Beta and hopefully this will be
rectified by release.

Just like in earlier versions of this spreadsheet program, you are able to
click on each element and format them individually-for instance, one can
select the graph itself and resize it within the plot area. You can also use the
drop down in the Chart Tools>Format ribbon to select particular areas of the

Step 3: Correct graph type
It is also very easy now to change whether your chart shows a graph based on the
X or Y axis. From Chart Tools>Design, click on Switch Row/Column. Instantly,
the graph on screen changes its axis and the new graph is shown. Using this, you
can quickly compare values against two different criteria. 

Select from a variety of drop-down options to format various regions

For instance, with our table we can use this to plot a chart against
different months or against different account headings.

Step 4: Trend lines and more
Trend lines and error bars are a quick and easy way to find out things about the
data you have. Trend lines let you get a feel of the average or forecasted value
for a particular data heading. This is useful if you have a 2D column or line or
scatter graph on the screen. Trend lines cannot be used if your graph is 3D.

Therefore, if your graph at this point is three dimensional, use the ‘Change
Chart Type’ button on Chart Tools>Design page to switch to a
two-dimensional alternative.

You can use Trend lines to quickly identify how your data behaves

To use Trend lines, from Chart Tools>Layout, click on Trend line and
select one of the options there. You can select from Linear, Exponential, Linear
Forecast and Two-point Moving Average algorithms to draw this trend line. After
a couple of seconds, a line to denote that set of values will appear across your
chart. Error bars indicate the graph elements that could possibly have errors in
them. Typically, this corresponds to errors in the particular cell’s formula.
The chart acquires a small marker on the columns where there are errors. Error
bars can show the error value in percentage, actual value (standard error) or
apply a standard deviation formula to indicate deviation from expected value.
You can also use Up/Down bars (for charts with single column Y axis) in a
similar fashion to the Data Bars we saw last month. This quickly indicates
whether a value depicted is moving up or down comparatively.

Next month
Now that you know the basics, we will take up one of the newly released server
components of the Office 2007 family and take a look at how various enhancements
to it help you improve productivity with this latest suite.

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