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Chart of the Month – May 2007 – Data/Geographic Location Technique

This slide is a great layout for displaying a significant amount of comparative data for a geographic region, which is not always that easy to do. This slide, however, does it well, cleanly and clearly presenting the information in a visual format. Here is an inventory of what this chart presents:

  • Geographical display of regions and office locations
  • Comparative representation of the number of accounts serviced by each office (size of pie)
  • Comparative representation of the accounts for each region (composition of the pies for each location). The exact location of the account within the region is not necessary information for this message, so it is not included.
  • Color coded regions synchronized with pie slices enable quick office/region alignment assessment.

This chart requires a few steps to:

  • Develop the map with regions and office locations
  • Develop the pie sizing:
    • Draw 1 circle and make it 1" wide/1" high
    • Duplicate this 1" circle until you have one for each office location on the map
    • Size each circle according to the total number represented by the pie: format size dimensions as a decimal. For example, if the largest pie in this example represents a total of 20 accounts and the smallest represents a total of 1 account, format the size of these circles as 0.20 and 0.01 respectively
    • Group all of the size-formatted circles
    • Enlarge/scale the group by holding the shift key down and dragging a corner handle on the group. The correct size of the scaled circles depends on how well they fit around the map in the available space on the slide
    • Ungroup the circles and distribute them around the perimeter of the map according to the location they represent
    • Create pie charts for each location (use dd012_v13 or dd012_v15 pies in data-driven pie series as a starting point)
    • Size the pie to the correctly sized circle and replace the circle with the pie chart
    • Create the leader fields with the polygon tool, color light gray or white, and make semitransparent
    • Create the legend field.

The process above works well for building the slide in both PowerPoint 2007 and previous versions of PowerPoint.

This is not a push-button operation, but it is not tremendously time consuming either; and the result is a visual depiction of the information rather than a text table or text-intensive slide.

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