Charts, as an illustrated way of showing boring facts and figures, has always helped to embellish professional Word documents. Charts help readers compare data and understand trends with a glance. Charts are especially useful as supporting arguments to the underlying text that can easily be ignored. Charts are more in-your-face.
But how do you create that impact with a well-designed chart? Let MS Word 2010 and its Chart tools show you the way.
The automated chart feature uses data stored in a MS Excel 2010 file to plot a chart in a MS Word 2010 document. Then you can modify the style, color, and layout of the chart as you please in MS Word. You need MS Excel 2010 to be installed in your system as both the Office programs will be working together. (If you don’t have MS Excel 2010 installed, Microsoft Graph will be called up.)The good news is that you don’t need to know how to work on MS Excel.
Inserting a Chart in a Document
1. Click on the Insert tab on the Ribbon. The Chart feature lies on the Illustration group.
2. Clicking on the button opens up the Insert Chart dialog box where you can see the different types of charts you can choose from. The screen tips give you the chart names. The choice of the chart type will of course depend on how you want to portray your data. Some charts lend themselves well to specific kinds of data. Check out the available chart types on MS Word.
3. When you pick a chart type and press on OK, two things happen – Microsoft Excel 2010 opens up with some sample data and a sample chart is inserted in your Word document.
4. Entering your own data in place of the sample data in the Excel worksheet modifies the chart as the Excel worksheet is linked to the chart in the Word document. When you have entered all your data, you can close Excel. If you want to edit some more, click on the Edit Data button on the Chart Tools (or right click on the chart and select Edit Data).
Stylizing Your Chart with Chart Tools
Chart Tools gives you three extra tabs to change the appearance of your basic chart. You can free your creativity with the Design, Layout, and Format tabs. If you don’t see the Chart Tools, click anywhere on the chart to make it appear.
The design options before you are too many to mention here. Here are a few that allow me to make a humdrum chart look rich.
Change the Chart Type if you feel that the original isn’t cutting it. Clicking anywhere on the chart area you can bring you can bring up the dialog that lets you apply effects to the chart area as a whole.
Chart Layout lets you change the orientation of the data and the Layout tab under Chart Tools gives you lot more to customize with.
The Format tools similar allow you to select each individual element from the dropdown and customize it with styles, color, and position.
The sheer number of design variations enables you to create rich aesthetically designed charts. The automated features also allow for quick design changes and customization whenever you wish. The underlying data stays the same and it’s only the representation that changes according to the style applied. As a final step, place and align the chart at the right place in your document.
Explore all the automated features of the chart tool in MS Word 2010 and let us know your take on it. Do you think it’s a great enabler for your MS Word and MS Office tasks?