How to Make a Chart for Large Data Set

In this article, we will create charts with lots of data. We will start with simple chart creation and then move on to more complex charts with large amounts of data in them.

Large data set preparation

Let us start by creating simple data for a small chart:

chart with large data set

Inserting a chart with a lot of data

Let’s create a chart for these 10 products. Choose this data and then the 2D column chart from the Insert menu.

Chart with a lot of data Insert column chart

This chart looks easy to understand. Now the problem arises if the number of products is large, say 200 products. With 200 products, the chart will look like this:

Chart with a lot of data large data set column chart

Switch Rows and Columns

It is not understandable, so we can do some tricks to make it look better. First we can switch rows and columns in the cart and then check the results:

Chart with a lot of data switch rows and columns

Now the chart looks more understandable.

chart large data set column chart switched

Creating quarterly charts

We can also do more tricks, like removing some months to say, creating quarterly charts.

Chart with a lot of data quarterly charts

Aggregating Data

To make your chart more manageable, consider aggregating data. For example, if you’re dealing with monthly sales data for 200 products, you can group it into quarterly or annual totals. This reduces the number of data points and simplifies the chart.

Filtering Data

Another technique is to filter the data for specific periods or categories, allowing you to focus on relevant information. Excel’s slicer feature is excellent for interactive data filtering.

See also  How to Create Charts with Filtered Data in Excel

Using Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts

Pivot tables are powerful tools for summarizing and analyzing large data sets. You can create pivot tables to aggregate data and then convert them into pivot charts for visual representation. These charts dynamically adjust as you change the pivot table filters.

Data Labeling and Tooltips

In charts with many data points, it’s essential to provide clear data labels and tooltips. This helps users understand the chart without overwhelming them with excessive information.

Consider Interactive Dashboards

For extremely large data sets, consider creating interactive dashboards. Excel provides tools like slicers, data validation, and hyperlinks to navigate through various parts of your data and charts seamlessly.

Maintain Chart Readability

Keep your chart clean and easy to read. Avoid clutter, excessive gridlines, or overlapping data points. Use color coding and chart titles to convey key insights.

Test and Iterate

Creating charts for large data sets often requires experimentation. Don’t hesitate to try different chart types, layouts, and data aggregation methods. Test your charts with potential users to ensure they are informative and user-friendly.

By applying these techniques, you can effectively create charts for large data sets in Excel that convey valuable insights without overwhelming your audience. Excel’s flexibility, combined with thoughtful chart design, allows you to present even the most extensive data sets in a clear and understandable manner.