Business charts and graphs are a great way to make sense of reams of figures. When they’re appealing to the eye, they can be a useful addition to otherwise complicated presentations.
More than 65% of people are visual learners, which means a graph or chart is bound to get through to them a lot better than numbers or words. Here’s how to create a super-effective chart for your next presentation.
1. The Best Business Charts Use Images for Effect
Instead of using the usual colored stripes common in bar and line graphs, you can use custom images instead. These really make your graph pop and give it a unique memorable quality.
You can use any cylindrical shape. For example, you could use representations of skyscraper buildings if you were working with real estate figures.
2. Less is More When it Comes to Good Charts
Try to remove all the noise from your graphic. You don’t need any of the grid lines that are standard in most graphs. It’s easy to do in Excel by pressing Ctrl-1 as you hover over the offending line and changing the line color to ‘none’.
Gridlines are distracting and people get the message just fine without them. Likewise, clean up any figures that appear in your chart. Remove the decimal point unless you need them and try to represent each number in a compact format.
3. Turn it Up
Bad graph examples include those where the labels appear vertically, so your audience has to turn their heads sideways to read them.
If your chart has long labels, re-arrange things so that they are horizontal on the screen. This may mean enlarging the columns, or swapping the axes around so that the bars are horizontal and not the text.
The best type of graph to use in these instances is a bar chart. Arrange your data in ascending order so that the larger values are on top. People naturally read graphs from the top down and you want them to focus on the important data first.
4. Brand Your Charts
Why not scrap the traditional excel templates and color-code your graphs according to your brand colors? This looks attractive and creates a familiar feel for your corporate audience. It will impress your boss too.
It’s easy enough to do this by creating custom colors using the paint bucket tool in Excel.
5. Pick the Right Graph or Chart
Bar, pie, and line charts are best suited for displaying different kinds of information. Line charts are good for tracking trends over time. Bar graphs and pie graphs are best for comparisons.
Of these two, the pie chart is the most visually appealing, especially when you’re comparing parts of a whole. A pie chart maker is a quick and easy way to convert a lot of data into this format.
Now that you’re familiar with how to create effective and attractive business charts, you can go out there and wow your colleagues with your brilliant presentation.