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Charley's Swipe File #16

These professional-quality Excel charts display buckets of performance for top sales people, regions, products, customers, measures, vendors, etc.

by Charley Kyd, MBA
Microsoft Excel MVP, 2005-2014
The Father of Spreadsheet Dashboard Reports

Charley's Swipe File #16(Most of my swipe files use Greeking, which is fake Latin. It helps you ignore the textual content and focus on the actual charts and tables.)

Each set of swipe files comes with two PDFs for documentation: a general, eight-page "Getting Started" document, and a two-page document specific to the current swipe file.

Usage Ideas

This figure could work well in a Word, PDF, or Web document, and also as a full Excel page.

You could use the figure to display discrete “buckets” of performance for each of the 16 categories. In the current figure, for example, you could show two years of performance for 16 sales regions or sales people. Or you could show key measures for 16 top products, customers, or vendors; or key measures for 16 stocks; or economic data for 16 markets; and so on.

And rather than just two columns per category, you could show one column of data, or several.

By changing the number of categories, or by adding another chart with 8 new categories, you could display just four or five categories of data in this figure, or as many as around 30 categories.

From the documentation for this swipe file...

This figure uses two charts to display the same two measures for a total of 16 categories of performance.

In your company, the categories could be divisions, products, competitors, customers, sales people, web pages, and so on.

When you use this figure, make sure that both measures of performance use the same units of measure: euros, percent, tons, visitors, units, and so on. By making both measures the same, the relative height of the red and blue bars continues to have meaning.

Unlike most charts, this figure does not include X or Y axis labels. Instead, data labels provide the values for each column.

If your values are large, be prepared to use number formatting to make them as few characters as possible. Otherwise, they’ll be too wide to display in the chart.

For example, if you want to display numbers that range from, say, 938,390 to 8,388,722, you might need to display them as .9 through 8.4, then include something like “(millions)” in the legend or in the subtitle.

This figure uses a trick that I’ve never seen used other than in my own work:

(Continued in the documentation.)

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