Charting little squares
December 30, 2008 8:02 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to produce a graph like this in Excel? (Or should I be using a different graphing package?)
posted by TrashyRambo to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When you say "a graph like this" do you mean only the specific numeric content and its format (the blue area, lower left of your image), or do you meant the look and feel of the overall image you linked to (that is, the text formatting, placement, arrows, dotted lines, etc.)? And, will you need to change the data frequently and have it update in the graph, or is this a one-time graphic?

I personally would not use Excel to create the overall image that you linked to, though I might use it to create the very specific graph area (the blue data) and then recreate the image in another program to make sure I had proportions correct. Unless the data needs to be updated with some frequency. Then I would use Excel, and try to "dress up" the graph with the use of clearer fonts and meaningful placement of text like in your overall image.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:56 AM on December 30, 2008

Best answer: Here's the link to a screencast resulting from a challenge posed by Juice Analytics showing how to "Chart Little Squares." It stems from an earlier discussion at the eagleeyes blog where they referred to the output as Square Pie Charts.
posted by jasper411 at 9:34 AM on December 30, 2008

This doesn't answer the question, but why don't you use a bar chart like this? Bar charts are much easier to use than area-based charts; as Stephen Few points out in Information Dashboard Design, 'our visual perception does a poor job of accurately and efficiently comparing 2-D areas and angles'. A bar chart has to be a heck of a lot quicker than fiddling around colouring cells, and is much quicker to understand.
posted by nz_kyle at 10:10 AM on December 30, 2008

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