Charts in PowerPoint: Energize Your Presentation

Charts in PowerPoint. Working in corporate isn’t a walk in the park. Some people spend half their lives in a working cubicle, while some climb that ladder up to higher management in a matter of years. It is all about making an impression, sifting through spreadsheets of data over days and compiling it into a handful of slides to present to the board.

The brass does not want to know every variable on the spreadsheet; they only want to know what it means. Nothing gets the job done better than a bunch of neatly done charts and graphs in PowerPoint to show board members the big picture. Charts in PowerPoint visually represent tons of data that would otherwise take hours and a certain level of analytical skill to interpret and understand.

Don’t forget about visual learners in your audience. Most people pick up important information easier when it is graphically represented rather than as a series of mathematical figures they have to understand. With a well-placed graphical figure, you can be sure your audience understands the message you are trying to convey and not walk out from the meeting room out of boredom. That’s why well-placed charts in PowerPoint will energize your presentation.

Popular Charts & Graphs in PowerPoint

Tables are great to highlight information, but when the data spans pages, charts and graphs can boil it all down to one picture. We say charts and graphs, but any analyst with a bit of knowledge would know that all graphs are essentially charts. When it comes to incorporating charts in PowerPoint, i.e. in your presentation, you will find them both sitting in the same section of the program.

Bar Charts

Bar graphs are one of the simplest charts you will come across. They are easy to create and understand. They are best for representing nominal and ordinal data in your presentation.

A common bar graph comprises of horizontal bars that represent particular variables through their length. What this means is that a variable with a higher numerical value associated with it will be represented by a longer bar.

Follow these steps to insert bar charts in PowerPoint:

Navigate to the Insert tab.

Click on Chart.

In the Insert Chart pop-up window, select Bar.

From the selection, pick the type of graph you would like to incorporate.

You can either import a spreadsheet or copy-paste data from one to PowerPoint’s spreadsheet pop-up.

There are several different bar chart options that you can play around with to determine which one works best with your data.

Line Charts

Line charts in PowerPoint demonstrate the trend of variables over time such as the sales of a particular item over a period of 3 months. Continuing this example, if you wanted to compare the sale trends of a number of items in a store, you will do so with a line chart. Items on the chart with a line sloping downward show a declining trend, upward sloping lines show an increasing trend and a perfectly horizontal line shows a constant trend.

Follow these steps to insert line charts in PowerPoint:

Navigate to the Insert tab.

Click on Chart.

In the Insert Chart pop-up window, select Line.

From the selection, pick the type of graph you would like to incorporate.

The procedure for importing spreadsheet data into PowerPoint remains the same for all charts. There are several line chart options to choose from. Your choice will depend on the look you are going for in your presentation and the type of data you are representing. Some information may look best as a stacked line chart, while a regular overlapping line chart may show a better comparison between some kinds of data.

Column Charts in PowerPoint

This is one of the most common forms of bar charts in PowerPoint, used to depict the comparison between multiple variables. PowerPoint files it under Column Charts. A column chart is exactly like the bar graph we discussed above, except that the bars here are vertical rather than horizontal.

It is easy to compare performance data for various variables in a column chart. The vertical bars clearly depict where the variables stand, like skyrise buildings standing side by side. The higher the bar, the bigger the value it represents.

You can insert column charts in PowerPoint in exactly the same way you would a bar graph, but if you want to replace the bar graph you’ve already inserted with a column chart, follow the steps below:

Click on the inserted bar chart.

A Chart Tools ribbon will appear at the top of the window.

Select the Design tab from the ribbon and select the Change Chart Type option.

Select Column in the pop-up window.

Here’s the final result – A Column Chart in PowerPoint!

Pie Charts in PowerPoint

Everyone loves a good pie chart. Data represented through a pie chart is easy to comprehend, and it is incredibly simple to create. It is best when the purpose is to compare a few variables. However, using pie charts in PowerPoint (and overall for that matter) for a large number of variables can get overwhelming as the pie slices in the chart will get crammed up against each other and it will be difficult to discern one variable from another.

Pie charts can be inserted in exactly the same way as the bar chart and line graph detailed above. You can also convert any other chart into a pie chart in the same way we changed the bar graph into a column chart.

To create the various pie slices, insert the data in percentage form in the chart’s spreadsheet. All percentages should add up to 100.

Here’s the final result – A pie chart in PowerPoint!

Charts in PowerPoint: Conclusion

If you are not in the habit of incorporating charts in PowerPoint, you really should. The colors in charts brighten up the presentation and the easy-to-understand pictorials captivate the audience’s attention for longer. Anyone can throw in a few figures and make a PowerPoint presentation, but what truly sets apart one individual’s presentation from another’s is how efficiently it is presented and how capable they are of impressing their audience.

Watch the video tutorial here to get more in-depth knowledge of how to make charts in PowerPoint!