Excel Hints & Tips – Florence Nightingale & Excel

What on earth has Florence Nightingale got to do with Excel?

Well believe it or not she invented the pie chart, if you don’t believe us go Google it.

Pie charts are great!  They can be 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!

Pic 1

If you try you might end up with a doughnut chart a bit like the one below… urgh!

Pic 2

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!

pic 3

Pic 4

Excel can even add percentages!

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If you have any Excel questions or hints and tips you would like shared get in touch!

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