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That's pretty cool... Another trick I realized a while back is that you can cut your chart from Excel and paste it in Illustrator, then you're free to edit at will from a design point of view. I used it to make a timeline comparison to scale and it turned out pretty good.
This just goes to show the pain that is created by bad defaults. The number of people who first discovered information visualization through excel must number in the millions. Your first impressions of a thing almost always form a lasting set of norms. All of those people have come to believe that grey and purple are the proper colors for bar charts. With just a little "experimentation" you can create passable information visualization in excel, but did you see how hard excel makes it to do that? Good grief ... how hard would it be to just put a more appealing set of defaults into a tool like excel?
What a great point Deano. A little investment in information design could change the way the world views the MS Office suite, and make all of our lives much easier at the same time.
To create satisfying illustrations has its advantages. Apart from the vertical and the horizontal presentations of the axis, you can create 3-D visualizations if you search the interface. Or even better, to rotate the 3-D image,for a complete visualization of it's sides and dimensions. And several other options that can be applied if discovered in there, that i dont remember!
I have been using Apple's Numbers app for a few weeks now. I don't do calculations in there because I live in a world filled with pivot tables. But to chart my conclusions and analysis, its great. I enjoy having multiple graphs, charts and tables mixed on one page not sharing the sheet's global matrix. Its lacking some major graphing options like having a secondary axis and doing percentages correctly but MS could learn a thing or two.
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