Visual Design

The following is a fairly quick tip within Excel Visual Design.  One of the things I like to put in tables is a checkmark symbol to indicate that something is complete.  In certain situations, it's more appealing than writing the word "Done" or "Complete."  There are multiple ways to do this and I'll cover them ... Continue Reading >>
When writing a series of VLOOKUP formulas, one of the annoying things is having to see the "#N/A" error after Excel has determined a lookup value is not available.  While we don't want to show any values when they are truly unavailable, from a visual design perspective, it's sometimes better just to show a blank space ... Continue Reading >>
The IFERROR formula was designed to solve a common aesthetic problem that most of us have encountered when using Excel - when we know that there are errors in our data, but we'd prefer not to see Excel's standard error message notation.  Error messages usually consist of all caps lettering that is preceded with the "#" ... Continue Reading >>
I’ve emphasized before that the key behind Visual Design is that every formatting decision you make should have a purpose behind it.  In the following post, I plan to demonstrate more of the visual style I use in Excel.  These formatting techniques still do have justifications behind them, but there are no hard and fast ... Continue Reading >>
Visual Design is a concept that many people don’t think about when using Excel.  However, given how much Excel’s visual display capabilities have improved over the years, the concept is becoming more and more important.  There are a number of great books on Visual Design and they all have very similar themes. The following Continue Reading >>
Pasting chart formats is an Excel function that’s somewhat un-intuitive to find and therefore underutilized.  One of the main reasons that people don’t bother improving the formatting of their charts is because of the time it takes to make these adjustments.  By using the paste format function for your charts, you can save Continue Reading >>
Because it’s buried deep in the cell formatting menu and has very little documentation, Excel’s custom number formatting is probably its most underutilized feature.  Understanding and mastering this feature can greatly enhance the Visual Design of your Excel workbooks.  The key benefit of custom number formatting Continue Reading >>
One of the most important skills in Visual Design is being able to improve the formatting of your Excel charts.  Even if your displaying the exact same data set, the formatting of a chart can make a huge difference in terms of effectively communicating your data. For any given chart, there is always some level of ... Continue Reading >>
For stacked bar charts, Excel 2010 allows you to add data labels only to the individual components of the stacked bar chart.  The basic chart function does not allow you to add a total data label that accounts for the sum of the individual components.  Fortunately, creating these labels manually is a fairly simply process. Step Continue Reading >>
The chart on the bottom is Excel’s default formatting while the chart on the top has been heavily updated.  Looking at both charts together, most people would agree that the chart on the top looks better.  The purpose of Visual Design is to explain why the first chart looks better and do so from a ... Continue Reading >>
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