Practical Principles on Presenting Data in Charts

To enhance your visual data in charts, think from the audience's point of view. Follow these principles.

Principle 1 - Help the Eye Compare Data Easily

According to human brain capabilities and cognition, judging relative height is easier for people. Judging width is relatively more difficult. That is to say, when you are presenting data in charts, you can use column or bar charts and plot charts abundantly. Pie and area charts should be used sparingly.

Principle 2 - Use Gentle Color in Charts

To distinguish different series, you can use differentiated colors because eyes are highly attentive to colors. But you need to keep in mind that colors applied should be eye-friendly. Avoid excessive color contrast, which can make eyes feel uncomfortable. Generally, corporate audiences favor conservative and inoffensive color.

Principle 3 - Use Fewer Figures Whenever Possible

If there are too many digits to analyze, the brain and eye will feel tired soon. For those large value numbers, present them in breviary format. In this way, the brain can understand them more easily. Compare these two formats of the number and find out which can be comprehended faster: 19,000,000 and 19 million. Generally, the common problem with "too many digits" is on the axes of charts. To solve this problem, use unit to simplify numbers on axis, add totals to each series to set data free as shown in the following example.

Sales Growth Bar Chart

Principle 4 - Don't Make Slides Look Too Cramped

Always remember that you are allowed to use more slides. If you include too much information in 1 slide, it will look cramped and the audience will also feel overloaded.

Principle 5 - Comparison in Column is Easier than Row

When comparing numbers in a row, eyes have to move back and forth. If presented in a row and right justified, eyes can identify value difference easily by glancing at the length of digits. So keep in mind that right alignment is the "right" alignment for digits.

Number Alignment

Professional Chart Software - Make Great-looking Charts

Edraw diagramming package has included chart software which is powerful for drawing all kinds of charts. It has perfected over 10 different chart types so you can view things from nearly every conceivable angle. Edraw chart software provides you free maintenance update and lifetime upgrades guarantee. Give it a try and you will never regret that.

Charting Software

More Charts Templates

Here are some excellent charts examples which can effectively present data. Refer to them for professional charts creation or download them to import your own data.

Bar Chart Example - Sales Comparison

An editable example of sales comparison bar chart is provided on the right. Use it to present your own bar charts.

Multi Pie Chart - Market Plan

A vector-based pie chart example is readily available for download. You will save lots of time by using this ready-made template.

A elaborately created line chart example. It is presented here to benefit users by saving time and effort in charting.

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