Tips to Make Your Excel Charts and Graphs Pop

Excel 2013 legend-placement-comparison

Who says looks don’t matter? The human eye has a natural inclination for proportion, color, and balance. If you go crazy using bells and whistles when creating your Excel charts and graphs, they can end up being difficult to read or decipher. Here are tips to make your Microsoft Excel 2013 charts and graphs pop.

Get rid of the gridlines. In theory, gridlines are there to help your eye track specific data. In reality, they create the equivalent of visual “background noise,” which mucks up the total effect and is more of a distraction than a help. Your charts will have more impact without them. Simply click on any gridline other than the top one (that will select the entire plot area). Then hit Ctrl-1 to access the formatting box. Select line color > no line, and – viola! It’s easier on the eyes.

Legend relocation. Tired of your chart legends on the right? They always make things appear off center. You can easily relocate the legend to the top or bottom of the page. Click Ctrl-1, then find the Legends category and choose Positions (called Placement on Macs). It’s much cleaner.

Sort your data. Keep the chart looking orderly and streamlined by sorting data in descending order beforehand. Once your data is sorted according to how you want it to appear in the chart, a change in data will automatically be reflected in your chart.

Use Labyrinth Learning’s Microsoft Excel 2013 software and textbooks to help your students’ Excel charts and graphs pop.

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