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Charts II: Choose the right chart type

A 100% Stacked Column chart that emphasizes relative contribution of each salesperson

This chart emphasizes the relative contribution made by each salesperson, month after month.

What if you want to compare contributions to total sales, instead of just case numbers? You can place a different emphasis on the same data by creating a different kind of chart, the Stacked Column.

To change from Column to Stacked Column, you would right-click the border of your chart to select it, and then you would click Chart Type on the shortcut menu. The Chart Type dialog box would open with the Column chart type selected. On the right side of the dialog box, you would select from different forms of Column charts shown in the Chart sub-type area. Clicking one of these and then OK would change the chart type.

A Stacked Column chart compares the contributions to a total of different values, showing either units or percentages. The chart shown here is a 100% Stacked Column chart that shows contributions as percentages.

Instead of comparing how much each person sold each month, this chart emphasizes the relative contribution made by each salesperson to each month's total.

Now the value axis on the left displays percentages instead of the number of cases sold. There is only one column per month instead of three, with the values of all three salespeople stacked on top of each other.

You can easily see how important Peacock has been to your sales effort, and how March differed from previous months.

Whether you use the Stacked Column sub-type or the basic Clustered Column sub-type depends on the message you want to get across; perhaps you would use both. Without actually changing your chart, you can experiment in the Chart Type dialog box to see how your data will look in various chart types and sub-types. Select one and preview it by clicking and then holding the Press and Hold to View Sample button. When you know what you want, pressing OK makes the change.

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