Excel Hints & Tips - Florence Nightingale & Excel
What on earth has Florence Nightingale got to do with Excel?
Florence Nightingale famously created a polar area diagram (a type of pie chart) in 1858 to show the cause of death in British military hospitals in the Crimean War. This highlighted the extent of preventable deaths (such as from typhus and cholera). The result was that the British government took action and commissioned Isambard Kingdom Brunel to design a new civilian hospital – reducing the death rate to just 1/10th of what it was before.
This important use of data visualisation shows how powerful charts (and especially pie charts) can be.
Hi, we are Happy
We are leading a movement to create happy, empowered and productive workplaces.
How can we help you and your people to find joy in at least 80% of your work?
But when should you use a pie chart?
Whether you are trying to fight for an important cause like Florence Nightingale, show where your website traffic comes from or just want to show your sales over the last year, pie charts can be really effective – big, bold and simple. But they can also be muddled, messy and confusing. What makes the difference is the data you are trying to chart. Not all data is suitable for all chart types and Pies are particularly vulnerable to having the wrong data used.
If we consider the table of data below that we have three rows of data organised into five columns. This data will not make a good pie chart!
If you try you might end up with a doughnut chart a bit like the one below… urgh!
Pie charts are better suited to one data series (a row or column of data), where you want to show in what proportions the data is divided.
Totals, or the rows or columns, give data that will be more appropriate to a good old Pie chart!
Excel can even add percentages!
Don’t forget, all of our IT training courses include two years of free access to our IT Helpline. The IT Helpline is staffed by our IT trainers, with support available by phone and email. You can contact our team as many times as you like about the material covered on your course.
Why not sign up to our newsletter?
Sign up to our monthly newsletter, full of tips, tricks and news to help you to be happier and more productive at work.
Darren is one of Happy's Senior Trainers, able to train almost every IT course on our course programme. He worked for Happy for 12 years and has been an Associate Trainer since 2018.
Testimonials from happy Customers
Rick Smallman1 day ago
good delivery & pace - communication after the course could i prove with follow up check in's being offered - perhaps 1 per candidate to review usage/questions
Leigh Urban2 days ago
Knowledgeable and engaging facilitators, delivered the course very well online.
John Lloyd2 days ago
The course was overal well presented via Teams which can be difficult. Some minor logging in issues. The course pdf supplied separate beforehand would help, i.e. ...
Fiona O'Neill2 days ago
Practical tips on using liberating structures. Chance to meet people from other sectors as well as my own. Relaxed and friendly.
Steve Woodruff2 days ago
Well presented, good pace course
Amanda Middleton4 days ago
yes, the course was well structured and the trainer was competent. It was a little cluncky being on line but that was niotv Happy's faault
Marjory Mackay6 days ago
Engaging and stimulating day - with useful methods for virtual networking.
Andrea Randall-Smith11 days ago
I enjoyed their conference and how interactive it was. Excellent communication with attendees and interesting topic.
David Engle11 days ago
Had some problems with getting the right link to the conference, but it was handled relatively well.
Trusted Customer12 days ago
Replied promptly to emails, were very helpful.
Susanna Farley12 days ago
The course was a good one, and the tutor was knowledgeable. However, for me it would have been so much better had it been face-to-face rather than online. I had a numbe...
Caroline Grant13 days ago
Good overview of 365 but would have like more interaction. Being shown things and them trying them out. Not clearly structured