There comes a time when all of us have to visualise data. While producing column graphs isn’t exactly glamorous, it pays to get it right. Here are 7 tips to help you visualise data in PowerPoint.

Go monochrome with a highlight

 

Let’s say you’re making a pie chart. Start by picking two complementary but distinct colours. Now, give your most important slice the highlight colour. Dress the rest in different shades of the same colour. You should end up with something like this:

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

 

Trim your elements

 

Let’s compare two graphs we prepared earlier:

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

Both share exactly the same information. The right is just so choked with legends, lines, and text that it’s almost impossible to tell.

However you decide to visualise data, you must make it minimal.

 

 

Highlight statistics with illustrations

 

If you have a standout statistic, don’t lump it in with the others. Make it stand out on its own. Bring attention to it with an appropriate illustration. Here’s one we think your eyes (and tastebuds) will agree with:

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

Guide eyes with lines

 

When you visualise data, you need to lead your viewer’s eyes along an easy path. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by the use of guiding lines. We’ve included an example of this below:

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

Of course, this is a more obvious example. Guiding lines are usually a lot more subtle, as with this one:

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

As you can see, the low to high order of the data creates an invisible guideline.

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

 

Fade out unimportant data

 

Before you begin to visualise data, you need to determine the data you want to highlight. An excellent way to isolate that data is to fade out less important data. You can see an example of this in our pie graph below:

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

 

Bold your data

 

Playing with colour can be an excellent way to highlight your data. Unfortunately, brand guidelines and other restrictions can keep you from taking advantage of this. Thankfully, bolding is an excellent way to bring attention to important information. We illustrated this in our column graph below:

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

 

Animate important segments

 

This won’t be a viable solution for printed graphs, but it’s an excellent solution for presentations and online media. On top of that, it’s incredibly easy to achieve in PowerPoint. Just create your graph, duplicate your slide, edit the segment you want to highlight, then apply a simply morph transition. Here’s an example of what we mean:

 

Visualise data, 7 Tips to Visualise Data in PowerPoint

 

As you can see, it’s easy to visualise data in a way which doesn’t suck. Of course, it can be difficult to see beyond the mountain of data you need visualise. To ease your load, talk to one of our professional PowerPoint designers today.

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