As marketers, the most important skill you need in Microsoft Excel is the ability to create and manipulate charts (followed by how to work with pivot tables).
I reference charts frequently and wrote a post on how to make your charts sexy in Excel on the Search Engine Land site. And I did a presentation on giving your data an extreme makeover at SMX Advanced (which I’ll be doing again at SMX East if you missed it). But I realize I’ve done done a video walk through. So here you go.
To help marketers learn this critical skill I created a comprehensive video tutorial that goes through several charting techniques. Some of these include:
- Creating column, bar, pie, line, area, and scatter charts (and what to use when)
- Adding and removing data from charts the easy way (hint: if you’re using Select Data, you’re doing it the hard way)
- Working with a secondary axis
- Working with Excel’s built-in chart styles
- Customizing colors to match your branding
- Creating combination charts
- Cleaning up Excel’s noisy default formats, like tick marks and gridlines (or at least less obtrusive)
- Applying custom number formatting to chart axes
- Going totally Spartan/minimalist with your charts
- Using text boxes and shapes in charts
Download Excel Workbook
If you’d like to download the workbook I worked from to follow along, you can download it from Dropbox.
Because the adoption rate to Excel 2013 is pretty slow among marketers, I decided to do this tutorial using Excel 2010 for the PC and 2011 for the Mac. But if you’re using Excel 2013, you have all the same options; Excel just traded in pop-up menus for more of a Photoshoppy panel.
Also, I was originally going to show how to create stacked column and area charts, but the video got really long. And I use pivot charts to create them, which Mac users can’t use. I’ll do a separate tutorial sometime on how and when to use them.
One last thing: Sometimes I get this feedback sound in the recording. The only way I know to minimize it is to unplug my laptop while I’m recording. But even that didn’t totally take it away. I never had this problem on the Mac. Pfft.
If you’re showing data over a long period of time and don’t want a crazy wide chart in your dashboard, check out this other video tutorial I did on creating scrolling charts in Excel.