This site is designed to assist policy and other decision makers to create useful graphs in Microsoft® Excel®. The first section provides a brief discussion of the history of graphs, their use in decision making and the difference between good and bad graphs. The second section gives step by step instructions for creating a range of basic graphs in Excel.
|1.||History of Graphs The benefits of using graphs to visually represent data has been recognised for over 200 years. (Video runtime 9:37)|
|2.||Using graphs in decision making Using graphs in decision making requires interpretation of their main features. (Video runtime 6:28)|
|3.||Good and bad graphs A graph should clearly show the important features of the data, but many are misleading for advertising or other purposes, or even just by accident. (Video runtime 7:10)|
Instructions for creating seven different types of graphs in Excel are given below. In each part is a video showing that type of graph being created. A downloadable spreadsheet of the data used in this video and a printable file of written instructions are also provided so that the user can create for themselves the same graph shown in the video.
New Zealand data has been used in all graphs in the Introductions to each graph type, and United Kingdom data in the Videos and Instructions sections.
|1.||Pie Charts A pie chart uses “slices” of a circle to represent proportions. In a pie chart, the angle at the centre of each “slice” is proportional to the quantity it represents. (Video runtime 3:06)|
|2.||Bar Charts Bar charts are used for (relative) frequencies in classes of categorical variables, or for discrete data. e.g. numbers of people in different ethnic groups, or number of people with different numbers of siblings. (Video runtime 5:55 / 5:40)|
|3.||Histograms Histograms are used for (relative) frequencies in ranges of continuous numeric variables. (Video runtime 6:14)|
|4.||Population Pyramids Population Pyramids are back to back histograms for age for males and females. These are usually used to display and compare national and regional populations. (Video runtime 5:52)|
|5.||Box Plots A Box plot is used for numerical data. It has a box showing the range from first to third quartiles, the interquartile range. The median divides this box into the second and third quartiles. The whiskers span the first quartile and the fourth quartile. (Video runtime 6:42)|
|6.||Time Series Time series are used for two numerical variables, one of which is time. (Video runtime 2:51)|
|7.||Scatter Graphs Scatter graphs are used to display data where we have two numerical variables for each observation (e.g. person). (Video runtime 3:24)|
|Measuring Price Change|