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Charts II: Choose the right chart type

A chart that uses columns to represent both projected and actual sales, and a combination chart that uses columns to represent actual sales and a line chart to represent projected sales

Fig. 1  This chart is a Column chart that uses columns to show both projected and actual sales.
Fig. 2  This combination chart shows actual sales in a Column chart and projected sales in a Line chart.

In the first chart you see here, projected sales and actual sales revenues (dollars, not cases) are shown as columns, clustered side by side.

Imagine, however, that you'd like to create a chart to place extra emphasis on the differences between projected sales and actual sales.

A combination chart that uses two different chart types can place just this kind of emphasis on data.

The second chart here combines a Column chart to show actual sales with a Line chart to show projected sales. The difference between projected and actual sales catches your eye more quickly and effectively than in the all-columns chart. Although both charts use identical data, the second chart is clearly more informative.

It's easy to create a combination chart. In this example, you'd click on a column for the projected sales to select all the columns for that data series. Then you'd select a Line chart type in the Chart Type dialog box. You'll see how in the practice session.

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