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Best Practice

Excel Charts to PowerPoint Without Editing?

Those of you who are in a business of providing masses of detailed data-based information in charts have probably had to answer this question for your company. It's certainly quicker to to import an Excel chart without making any customized label placements or styling, but the tradeoff is that these charts will not perform well in a presentation. Here's why. You have probably noticed that PowerFrameworks is not an advocate of using legends and prefers the use of labels next to chart segments. The reason for this is that labels make it much easier for an audience to read chart accurately and more quickly. We are also not advocates for rotated axis labels because they're difficult to read without your audience having to tilt their heads. The list goes on.

Can these changes be made in Excel before importing the charts into PowerPoint? Yes, but the primary reason most companies do their charts in Excel in the first place is that the charts are much easier to update when numbers change. because every time the segments change shape, the labels need to be adjusted. Therefore, many companies opt to use the Excel charts as they are drawn using the program's defaults. Legends are static and do not need to be adjusted when number changes occur, etc.

The reality of the situation is that Excel and PowerPoint charting defaults and capabilities do not follow presentation best practices, no matter how many customizations you make to the defaults or how many templates you make. In order to deliver to your audience the highest-quality data-driven chart in a presentation, certain customizations will need to be made.

Each company will need to determine what is the most important, ease of use or the most effective and aesthetically pleasing chart layout.

The PowerFrameworks chart library and various articles about data-driven charts provide examples and full explanations of data-driven charts that are optimized for audience consumption.