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Best Practice

Excel worksheet etiquette for data-driven charts

Category titles and labels in worksheets for data-driven charts should always be filled and edited as needed to keep them up to date. This may sound like a very obvious practice, but you'd be surprised how many times we encounter datasheets that have missing or outdated information. Charts that use worksheet-generated labels and category titles will always have the information in the worksheets. But there are some chart layouts that work better with text field labels and titles (e.g., waterfall charts with the labels next to the segments rather than under or beside the baseline). It's tempting to just put the data in and then place the text-field labels on the chart to save time. But if the charts need to be edited, it's much faster to have the labels and categories in the worksheet so that the data in the worksheet can be easily identified. This is particularly important if there are more than one person developing the presentation. Remember, a little bit of extra work on the front end will save time when deadlines are pressing.