June 12, 2005

Data labeling trick in Excel

If you've wanted to label individual labels in Excel charts with extra data, there have typically been the option to create bubble charts, where the diameter of the bubble corresponds with a third variable. But what if the extra data is text (e.g., states in a national analysis). Check out Microsoft's macro to label data points in a scatter plot with a third column of data. In general, I am wary of Excel charts because you have to reformat much of any plot to be readable, and because of the tricks one has to pull with VBA to get the type of labeling that standard statistical packages can easily produce. But, if one knows Excel, there are ways to improve the output. (I like much of Edward Tufte's advice on presenting information visually; see his web site's discussion thread on graphing software for professional alternatives to Excel.) Incidentally, please let me know if this information is helpful for authors, before I commit editorial advice of this nature again. (The next advice entry planned: how to format tables in Word.)

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Posted in EPAA on June 12, 2005 11:01 PM |