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Best Practice

Data for your Data-Driven Charts

How do you plan to use your data-driven charts in your presentations? One time? Several times as updated figures become available? As a starting point for other similar charts in your presentation(s)? You need to know this so that you set yourself up for ease of editing and use at a later date.

Many companies produce their data-driven charts from a linked Excel worksheet. This is great if the worksheet is available at all times to all people who are producing slides. However, this is usually not the case.

It's a good idea to keep yourself in a position to leverage earlier work by keeping the data for data-driven charts in the presentation document itself instead of in a linked document. It may take a little bit of time to transfer the data from your master Excel worksheet to the worksheet associated with the data-driven chart in your presentation, but you will be setting yourself up for ease of editing and maintaining a viable chart library for the future.

It makes sense to spend time on the front end formatting slides for ease of editing and reuse. This is when you typically have the most time. Toward deadline, it is difficult to recover from the need to reproduce data-driven charts because the data is no longer available for editing. This approach will actually save you time and help you meet your deadlines easier.