Charting new territories – dealing with data in PowerPoint

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 by Simon Morton

Charts can be really useful and really powerful when used correctly in PowerPoint. I thought we’d get together 6 handy & helpful hints for using charts to the best of their ability. So here’s 1 to 3 in the list (in no order of preference):

1.  Inserting a chart can be done in 2 ways – and it’s important you remember which one as it impacts the way in which you change the data.

Firstly you can directly cut and paste a chart straight from Excel or you can directly build the chart (using Insert Chart) within your presentation. If you import, it’s important to remember that if you want to change the chart you have to change the source Excel data…so if you are going to move the presentation the source data needs to go with it.

Chart - Framed 2.  Animating the individual elements of a chart within Excel can be an interesting way to build a slide around your story and is easily done.

Start by ungrouping the chart. To do this in PowerPoint 2003, select the chart and choose Draw Ungroup and then press Ctrl-A to select all the components. You can now right click on individual elements of your chart and choose Custom Animation.

3.  What’s the point? As with anything you use in your PowerPoint slides there has to be a point and this has to support your key message. Putting a chart in just to break up an avalanche of bullet points and to “look pretty” won’t help. It will confuse your audience and put them off your slides and most likely you.

So there you go – food for thought before diving into that next chart ridden PowerPoint!  The second half of our handy list will be out in a couple of weeks so don’t forget to pop back on a regular basis.

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2 Responses to “Charting new territories – dealing with data in PowerPoint”

  1. […] already said that charts can be incredibly powerful and persuasive in PowerPoint when used correctly. However […]

  2. […] about some of the data you have presented (or perhaps chosen not to share because it was too complicated).  Now begin to sketching out […]

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