INFO GRAPHICS WITH EXCEL

I’m not always the biggest fan of info graphics. Many of the posters-sized info graphics released these days have issues. But lately I’ve also received several requests on how to do info graphics with Excel. Many people don’t know where to start.

How Info Graphics are Different
Info graphics differ somewhat from your usual dashboard-style reporting. When we report with business tools, we use the data points–charts, tables, etc–to investigate a problem or monitor a system. That is, we use data to find results. Info graphics are used when we already know the results and we want to present it in an interesting, sometimes even artistic, way. Info graphics, then, are more about style and appearance–they wouldn’t necessarily find a good home on a dashboard. But they do work well in magazines, newspapers, and some student projects.

Info Graphics and Excel
Many info graphics are made with graphic editing programs like Adobe Illustrator. As far as I know, these illustrations are static. So each change in the underlying data won’t be automatically updated in the graphic. You would just have to redraw the graphic. Excel provides a benefit here: if we use Excel’s charts to make our info graphics, we can update the underlying data and the result appears automatically.

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