Tools 012 and 034 – Dial Gauges and Heat Gauges
Using the Gauges
Dashboards are used to show a point-in-time snapshot of a company's health and status. Dashboards can be comprised of data-driven charts, qualitative charts, maps with color coding to show rankings for regions, or gauges, like those in this series. This series contains five gauges, each different. This series is not a set of the same gauge in different segment variations. Each segment tells a different story: cold to hot, empty to full, two gauges with measurement increments in 5s, gauge with a needle that registers two measurements at once. The gauges are only offered as PowerPoint downloads because the needles have been developed and grouped so that manual and animated spins are easy to accomplish.
The example for this series uses gauges without number values, although they can certainly be added, either incrementally and associated with the segments of the gauge or with a beginning and an ending number only.
The gauge downloads have animation applied: for all versions, the needle is positioned at the beginning of the dial. The animation takes the needle clockwise around the dial to the end. You can, of course, adjust the spin percentage so that the needle stops at the desired position on the dial. If you don't want to use animation, just remove it and manually spin the needle to the desired position on the dial. To manually spin the needles, click on the needle and look for the little green-dot handle. Put your pointer on the green dot and spin the needle to the desired position.
The heat gauges are simply made. The heat colors are one field. The spinnable needle is a group and can be animated to spin.
Customizing the Gauges
Group all elements of the gauge and size as one field holding the shift key down to resize/scale. If you have downloaded the PowerPoint version of these frameworks, be sure not to ungroup the needle group. It's grouped with a counterpoint and/or a circle that has no fill or line color so that it is easy for you to either manually spin or apply an animated spin to the needle. The needle group, therefore, spins in place without wobble. To spin manually, click on the needle group and put pointer on the green dot handle (see below); then spin the needle to the desired position.
The example below shows how each needle group was constructed so that a manual or animated spin may be achieved easily.
There are no backgrounds for the dials for these gauges. They are meant to work with your template's background. If you need to add a background for a gauge in this series, simply draw a circle and place it behind the dial frame. Then you can color it as you wish. The lines, rim, and needles can be colored to match your template. Just be sure that you choose colors that provide the greatest contrast to your template's background so the gauge will be clearly visible.
We used red for the needle color because red draws the eye. The needle should be the most visible and distinctive part of the gauge. If you recolor the needle, however, be sure not to color the counterpoints/circles (explained above). You can select fields within a group and color them individually, and we recommend that you recolor in this manner. If you do add color to the whole needle group and the counterpoint dot shows up, just select the counterpoint and reset the fill to "no fill" and the line color to "no line" without ungrouping. If you do color the whole needle group instead of just the needle within the group, the needle group may show up like the examples above (in red).
You can apply a bevel to the dial rim and to the needle. Similar to applying color, just be sure you select only the needle (and not the counterpoint) when applying the bevel. These effects are nice and look metallic and real.
3D does not work well applied to the gauges. The different fields on the dial don't layer well when 3D is applied. This is true even at very shallow depths.
Don't use shadows on this type of framework. When the needle spins, its shadow needs to move to look realistic. The shadow effects in PowerPoint don't do this well enough to appear realistic.
Gradients, patterns, and pictures
There's nothing in these gauges to format with a gradient. If you want to draw a circle and place it behind the dial rim, you can apply a very subtle gradient to the circle (as a background for the gauge).
The PowerPoint downloads have the needle pointing to the minimum position and spin on one click to the maximum position. You can, however, change the spin percentages so that the needle stops at the desired position on the dial. This is sometimes a trial-and-error process. The spin percentage from minimum to maximum is indicated above for each variation within this series. If you want to calculate your spin mathematically, use the maximum spin degree, not 360 degrees).
See the FAQ entitled, "How can I best animate the pendulum, gauges, and other frameworks so that the pendulums/needles swing?" for the steps.