Your presentation-development partner … demonstrate and inspire!
Tutorial for

Data-Driven Charts 014

Scatter Charts

Working with Scatter (Dot) Charts

Scatter charts (dot charts) show concentrations.

You can change the size and shape of the sprites by double clicking on them and then selecting a point size. When there are only a few sprites on the page, you should use a larger sprite. You can also label each one, but you have to do this manually so you can control the label placement. When there are many sprites, labeling becomes impossible. The message needs to be simply the areas and attributes of the concentration(s). You'll want to reduce the size of the sprites so there isn't as much overlap and, therefore, the individual sprites are distinct.

You can place a quadrant over the plotted area if you want to add a layer of classification information. You can also place a type of target over the area that has the desirable characteristics.

Scatter charts are also used for line charts. This type of "line" chart is superior to other line charts when showing levels that are maintained over periods of time and change abruptly due to an event. Other line charts show slanted trend lines, which is an inaccurate depiction of events.

These line charts are actually developed on scatter chart templates. The sprites are eliminated and lines are added. There is a very specific way that data needs to be inserted into the worksheet.

Below are the PowerPoint 2003 and PowerPoint 2007 worksheets. The PowerPoint 2003 worksheet is scrolled down and does not show lines 1 and 2, but they are the same as what is shown in PowerPoint 2007 worksheet.

As you can see, the data is entered into the worksheets in exactly the same way for PowerPoint 2003 (Microsoft Graph) and PowerPoint 2007 (Excel). Both only need to have the X axis values entered once – the columns labeled Y axis in the worksheets and all subsequent columns contain the data for each line.

You may need to adjust the scale on the axes to achieve the spans you need. But this is handled in the same manner as data-driven charts (no special instructions).

Please note that the X and Y axes can be any units you choose. You are not limited to the units shown in this example. Any plottable values can be used as units for the axes.

Customizing data-driven charts

Adjust size

To adjust the size of a data-driven chart, you must double click on it and then adjust it by pulling the corner handles. Do not size without double-clicking on the chart. The text will skew and the chart may even eventually corrupt if you size incorrectly. This is important. The text may scale as you do this (which is an option you can choose or not choose). We recommend that you do not scale your text, as font size consistency is important for readability.

Color variations

The sprites will come in with the primary and secondary fill colors in your template's palette. If you only need one, delete the column that contains the second color and place all your data into the first column. If you need more than two colors, just add data to the third column, etc.

3D variations

3D is not recommended.


Shadows are not recommended.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients are not recommended.


Animate with a purpose. Simple reveals are much more effective than the more "startling" animations, unless of course you are trying to startle your audience. Add pizzazz by way of content, not by adding sparkly accessories.

Click on a name for more information.
Click on a thumbnail to view a larger image