Category Archives: visualization

How to create Time-Animated Map using Power Map

In this article we will explore how to use date or time values to visualize information in a completely new way.

power map date playback

Power Map uses the date or time information in the data to create an animated visualization which is out of the world! Have a look…

Continue reading How to create Time-Animated Map using Power Map

Instant, Interactive 3D mapping of your data – Power Map

It is now possible to create interactive 3D maps from your data right within Excel.

Power Map is a part of Power BI series of tools. It is free, powerful and wonderful.

interactive 3D mapping in Excel with Power Map

Let us dive into it and see how it can transform the way we understand information.

Continue reading Instant, Interactive 3D mapping of your data – Power Map

Using color to simplify interpretation and enhance analysis

Older version of Excel could display only 52 colors. New version (2007 onwards) can display 16 million colors. Yes, that sounds like an overkill, but Excel uses this extra capability in a brilliant way. It provides us with a very easy and useful method of using color to understand information more easily. Read on to find out how…

Use colors for easier analysis in Excel - Dr. Nitin Paranjape Continue reading Using color to simplify interpretation and enhance analysis

High, Medium, Low – visual categories – In-Depth

Please read the previous article so that you understand the context of this article.

In the previous article we saw how to divide available data into three categories: High, Medium, Small. In this article we will explore how to refine this process and have up to 5 categories of classification. We will also see how business context helps you decide the type of visualization.


Continue reading High, Medium, Low – visual categories – In-Depth

Show High, Medium, Low values in few clicks

We get lot of data and reports every day. Usually, to understand the information easily, we draw charts. Nothing wrong with that. Except that there are other methods available which may be more effective. Here is one such method which divides the data into three categories – high, medium and low.


Continue reading Show High, Medium, Low values in few clicks

Mini Charts: New method of visualizing data

The need

Visual data analysis usually means charts.  There are some limitations of using charts.

  • In some cases, traditional charts don’t work well. Primary and secondary Y axis allows two different scales of data to be shown visually. But more than three scales are impossible to plot.
  • Chart is a separate layer and needs to handled separately.
  • Charts occupy lot of space because there are so many elements to be shown like gridlines, axes, labels and so on.
  • If you try to reduce the chart size, the pattern gets flattened and difficult to interpret.

Visualize data with Mini Charts (Excel 2010 or above)

Fortunately, there is a new way of data visualization available in Excel (since Version 2010) – Mini charts.  Sparkline is a type of mini chart that is drawn in a single cell based upon data from multiple cells. Select one or more blank cells. Choose Insert Sparklines – Line. Select the input data. Click OK.





You can apply this to multiple rows or columns. Make sure you select the data correctly.

If you use this in a table, when more data is added to the table, new Sparkline will be automatically added. You can also increase the Sparkline by dragging it from the corner – just like formulas.

Powerful customization possible

When you Click inside the Sparkline, the Sparkline Tools tab appears. Make sure you go through EVERY option of this menu. You can then customize the visualization for your data quickly.


To show fluctuation across time? Use Line Sparkline

To show relative size of the data, use Bar Sparkline

Mini charts - Bar Sparkline

This diagram uses Line for monthly fluctuation and Bar for country specific values.

To show positive vs negative use Win/Loss

Mini charts - Win Loss

The last column is Win/Loss type of chart. It only depicts positive or negative outcome (Profit / Loss or Pass / Fail or Select / Reject). The line chart shows the fluctuation. In order to visually understand negative values, the Show Axis option puts a reference line at the zero position.

Mark the max or min values for easier interpretation

Mini charts - Mark Min or Max value

In case of bar style, the minimum value is always shown as a thin line. Negative minimum values look better in bars.

In the next article, we will explore some interesting practical scenarios for using Sparklines.