If you make a lot of charts, here’s a too often unused feature in Excel: Logarithmic Scale.
Thanks to fellow Excel Badass Blogger Michael Rempel for this tip! In the video below, I take the tip further to include a secondary axis and and area graph.
Let’s jump right in …
There’s a wide range between your data points. You need to make a graph, but the wide range makes the small numbers invisible.
The examples in the table below would make for useless visuals if you place them in an out-of-the-can column, line or area graph.
|Metric||# of Entries||Lowest Value||Highest Value|
|Product Weights||20 Products||0.02 lbs||370 lbs|
|February Walk-in Customers||30 Salons||5 visits||209 visits|
|Q1 Sales Revenue||40 Sales Reps||$0||$310,480|
This graph shows donations and is useless for any meaningful analysis. Under $200, we’re in the WTF? zone. (This might be fine as a snapshot or very high level overview but that’s about all.)
We can’t tell that Wally donated $2 and Cat donated $71. But let’s not pull out the magnifying glass.
In the chart below, we use a logarithmic scale and the chart adjusts, making the smaller numbers visible. There is a deeper explanation about logarithms, and Wikipedia can explain more than you want to know. For our purposes, we need to know that there is a solution for crazy graphs that have nearly invisible data.
What can we see now? Wally’s donation is much less than $10; in fact, very few donors are in the sub-$10 range, and Cat is not quite at $100.
SOLUTION The video below shows how to make logarithmic charts, and we take the sanity even further with combo charts and secondary axes.
That’s it for today. Now, I urge you: keep your data clean and do not make crazy visuals.
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