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Chart of the Month – July 2013 – Ranges in Data-Driven Charts

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July 2013 COMThis chart is tremendously effective at communicating these five ranges, and the technique to create these ranges is simple.

Why these types of ranges are useful

Ranges quickly convey quality to the quantified data. This makes your job as a presenter much more easy. You no longer have to describe in detail where the data falls outside an acceptable range. The Chart of the Month is only one example of how you might use ranges. Consider, also, how you might use ranges with a column or bar chart. Instead of the data being layered as in the Chart of the month, the ranges could be stacked. The lowest range could represent low-performance. The middle range could represent acceptable performance. The highest range could represent preferred performance or target.

How to create the ranges used in the Chart of the Month

What we've done is create rectangles that are sized, colored, layered, placed behind the chart area, and grouped, :

  1. Create your data-driven line chart
  2. Draw a rectangle, position it so that it spans the width of the line chart area, resize it vertically so that it reflects the smallest range, and color the rectangle green.
  3. Duplicate the green rectangle, align the duplicate perfectly (both horizontally and vertically) with the original, and send the duplicate to back (layer).
  4. Color the original rectangle (the one remaining on top of the data-driven chart) yellow and resize it vertically so that the top and bottom of the rectangle reflects the range you want.
  5. Duplicate the yellow rectangle, align the duplicate perfectly (both horizontally and vertically) with the original, and send the duplicate to back (layer).
  6. Color the original rectangle (again, the one remaining on top of the data-driven chart) red and resize it so that the top and bottom of the rectangle reflects the range you want and then send to back.
  7. Select all three ranges (which should be aligned and layered correctly if you followed the instructions) and group them. This is important because if you need to change the position of the chart or resize the chart, you want to be able to adjust the layers as a single object.

You're done. We've provided a download of this chart so you can see how the ranges have been put together and positioned on the slide. Enjoy!

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