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Charts II: Choose the right chart type

A Column chart that compares individual sales

This chart shows how three salespeople compare, every month for three months.

Imagine that you have a worksheet showing how many cases of Teatime Chocolate Biscuits were sold by each of three salespeople in each of three months. Now suppose that you want to create a chart that compares the salespeople, month by month.

You would start by selecting the data that you want to chart, as well as the column and row headings. Then you'd click the Chart Wizard Button image button on the Standard toolbar to open the Chart Wizard.

When the wizard opens, the Column chart type is selected for you. A Column chart is a good type for comparing values directly, and you want to compare how many cases each salesperson sold, so it's a good fit. When choosing a chart type, it's often wise to keep it simple, so that your message comes across clearly.

As you can see in the chart shown here, Peacock sold the most cases in January and February, but Suyama pulled ahead in March. The sizes and colors of the columns tell the story at a glance.

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