Excel 2010 KPI tutorial 2: Simplify your charts

Simon Hurst continues his tutorial series on KPIs by explaining how to present information clearly and with maximum impact in Excel 2010.

Part 1: Conditional formatting demonstrated the use of some of the new formatting features available in Excel 2007 and 2010 . In this second part we will investigate some of the more traditional charting options in Excel.

Creating a standard chart in Excel is generally straightforward regardless of the version. As long as your data is well structured, without blank rows and columns and preferably with row and column labels in single cells, then it should just be a case of selecting the data and running through the chart wizard in Excel 2003 or using the Chart section of the Insert ribbon tab in Excel 2007 and 2010 to choose the required chart type. In all recent versions the F11 shortcut will create a standard column chart based on the selected data range as a separate sheet. In Excel 2007 and 2010 the Alt+F1 shortcut creates the chart as an embedded object, rather than a separate chart sheet.

Once you have created your chart then you can choose how to format almost every aspect of it.

In part 3 we will consider what advantages there may be in keeping charts simple and investigate some of the new features in Excel 2007, and particularly 2010, that are based on simplicity and minimising ‘clutter’.

More Excel KPI and charting tutorials

About the author
Simon Hurst is a former chairman of the ICAEW IT Faculty and runs The Knowledge Base, a consultancy dedicated to helping accountants make effective use of technology. He is a regular contributor to AccountingWEB's ExcelZone and the author of '100 Time-saving Tips for Microsoft Office'. For more information, visit The Knowledge Base website.

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