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Charley's Swipe File #67

From a figure in the Wall Street Journal, these charts show three related time-series data plots. The figures use a surprising number of chart, formatting, and formula tricks.


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

From a figure in the Wall Street Journal, these charts show  three related time-series data plots. The figures use a surprising number of tricks.This figure is based on a display in The Wall Street Journal, one that helped researchers discover new insights from old data. You can learn more about the original chart here.

This figure illustrates several charting and spreadsheet tricks that you should know when you create your own reports.

Excel Tricks

The most obvious thing about the charts is their two-tone gridline bars. What setting does one use to create that effect?

In fact, this isn’t done with a setting. Instead, I generated those dark blue bars using a bar plot.

To see the settings I used, click on one of those dark blue bars to see the SERIES function, and then press Ctrl+1 to launch the Format Data Series dialog to see how I set up those bars in the Series Options tab.

Notice the title line at the top of the figure. The title uses an 11-point bold Calibri font. But after the pipe (“|”), the text uses a 10.5-point standard Calibri font. Excel allows text in a cell to have a variety of font formats, but not with Excel formulas that return text. To assign a different font format...

(Continued in the documentation.)

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