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Introduction to Data Analysis With Charts

Overview of Charts

Introduction to Charts

A chart is a technique of displaying data using pictures and graphical representations instead of numbers or simple words. It works by drawing figures that would represent numbers, adding colors and shapes to the information presented.

A chart is a technique of displaying data using pictures and graphical representations instead of numbers or simple words. It works by drawing figures that would represent numbers, adding colors and shapes to the information presented. While data analysis as we have seen so far was performed on records displayed on datasheets or forms, data analysis on charts is done using graphics that present pictures.

There are two pieces of information you should have before starting: The numbers that you want to represent and the type of chart you want to use.

 

Creating a Chart in Microsoft Access

The information used to create a chart can come from a table, a query, or a join. Data used on a chart can be made of natural numbers or percentage values. You can also present a series of repeating words and let the chart engine count the occurrences of such words before using them as numbers.

To start a chart, display a new form or report in Design View. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Chart button Chart. Position the mouse on the form or report. The mouse cursor would appear with small bars:

Introduction to Charts

You can then click the form or report. This starts the Chart Wizard and you can continue with it.

There are different types of charts, ranging from columns to pies, from lines to surfaces, etc, as we will review them. To present its information more efficiently, a chart is made of different sections. The main area allows users to view the graphical display of data. A legend explains the meaning of various colors on the chart. A title indicates what the chart is used for.

Practical Learning: Creating a Chart

  1. Start Microsoft Access
  2. From the resources that accopany these lessons, open the Altair Realtors4 database
  3. On the Ribbon, click Create
  4. In the Forms section, click Form Design
  5. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Chart button Chart
  6. Click the form
  7. In the first page of the Chart Wizard dialog box, make sure the Tables radio button is selected and, in the list, click Table: Properties

    The Chart Wizard dialog box

  8. Click Next
  9. In the second page of the Chart Wizard, in the Available Fields list, double-click PropertyType to include it in the Fields For Chart list

    The Chart Wizard dialog box

  10. Click Next

    The Chart Wizard dialog box

  11. In the third page of the Chart Wizard, accept the Column Chart in the 1st column - 1st row and click Next

    Chart Wizard

  12. Click Next
  13. Set the Title to Distribution of Properties Types
  14. Click Finish
  15. Switch the form to Form View

    Chart

  16. Display the form in Design View

Creating a Chart in Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is probably the most used tool for data analysis. This is partly because it provides many options. Microsoft Excel makes it possible and mostly easy to get data from other applications and analyze it there.

Practical Learning: Creating a Chart in Microsoft Excel

  1. The Altair Realtors4 database should still be opened.
    In the Navigation Pane, right-click Properties, position the mouse on Export, and click Excel
  2. Accept the name of the workbook as Properties.xlsx and observe the path (it should be the Documents folder
  3. Click OK
  4. Start Microsoft Excel and open the Properties.xlsx spreadsheet
  5. Click cell J58 and type =COUNTIF(G3:G49, "Single Family") and press Enter
  6. Click the cell on the left and type Single Families
  7. Press Enter and, in the down empty cell, type =COUNTIF(G4:G50, "Townhouse") and press Enter
  8. Click the cell on the left and type Townhouses
  9. Press Enter and, in the down empty cell, type =COUNTIF(G5:G51, "Condominium") and press Enter
  10. Click the cell on the left and type Condominiums
  11. Press Enter and, in the down empty cell, type =COUNTIF(G5:G51, "Condominium") and press Enter
  12. Click the cell on the left and type Unknown
  13. Select the 8 cells
  14. On the Ribbon, click Insert Column or Bar Chart and click Clustered Column

    Creating a Chart in Microsoft Excel

  15. Return to Microsoft Access

The Characteristics of a Chart

A Chart and its Container

A chart must be created in a container such as a form or a report in Microsoft Access, or a worksheet in Microsoft Excel. This also implies that the chart can only fit inside the size allocated by its host. When creating a chart in Microsoft Access, instead of simply clicking the form or report, you can click and drag immediately to set the primary size of the chart before releasing the mouse. Otherwise, after creating the chart, you can enlarge or heighten it in either Microsoft Access or Microsoft Excel.

Practical Learning: Resizing a Chart

  1. Display the form in Design View and double-click the button at the intersection of the rulers to open the Property Sheet
  2. On the form, click the chart
  3. In the Property Sheet, click the All tab and change the following characteristics:
    Name: gphProperties
    Width: 7.375
    Height: 2.875
    Top: 0.125
    Left: 0.125

    Chart

  4. Switch the form to Design View

The Sections of a Chart

To present its information, a chart is made of various sections:

The Sections of a Chart

Most or every one of these aspects can be displayed, hidden, or changed. To perform any action on these parts, after displaying the form or report that holds the chart in Design View, you use Microsoft Graph. To open it:

  • Right-click the chart, position the mouse on Chart Object and click Open
  • Double-click the chart

This would open a separate application:

Microsoft Graph

In Microsoft Graph, you can click or right-click the desired part.

Editing the Values of a Chart

As mentioned already, to create a chart in Microsoft Access, you use values from a table or a query. To change the values used for a chart without changing the real values, you can open Microsoft Graph. It would present a spreadsheet:

Chart

To change the value, in the Datasheet, click the cell that holds the value and type the desired one. After editing the value(s), click the body of the form or report to return to Microsoft Access. The chart would display with the new values. Remember that if you close the form or report, the chart would loose those temporary values.

A Chart's Legend

To show what the graphics on a chart represent, a chart is accompanied by an object on a side called a legend. The legend is made of at least one small square box of the same color of at least one of the graphics on the chart:

Chart Legend

If you don't want to use a legend, you can delete it:

  • If you are creating the chart using the Chart Wizard, in the 5th step, click the No, Don'T Display a Legend radio button
  • If the chart exits already, right-click the legend and click Clear or click the legend and press Delete

In the above case, the legend contains one item named Count. Because the legend represents a graphic of the chart, when you make a change on that graphic, the legend is updated. Still, you can change the legend if you want.

To make changes to the legend, display the Microsoft Graph for the chart, right-click the legend and click Format Legend. This would open the Format Legend dialog box, make the changes, and click OK.

Practical Learning: Using a Chart's Legend

  1. Right-click a white area of the chart, position the mouse on Chart Object and click Open
  2. Right-click the box with Count and click Format Legend...
  3. In the Format Legend dialog box, click the Font tab
  4. In the Font combo box, select Garamond
  5. Click the Color combo box and select Red (1st section: 1st column - 3rd row)

    Format Legend

  6. Click OK
  7. Close Microsoft Graph
 
 
 

The Title of a Chart

To indicate what it is used for, a chart can be equipped with a title. The title is a string that typically displays in the top section of a chart. In some (rare) cases, a title can also be positioned on the left or the right sides, above or below the chart. To move the title, display the form or report in Design View, click and drag the chart in the desired direction.

To format the title, you can either double-click it or right-click it and click Format Chart Title. By default, the chart displays without a border and in bold Calibri font. You can change or format it using the Format Chart Title dialog box.

When creating the chart, if you need more room for it, you can put the chart in the Detail section and remove the title. Then, for a form, you can create the title as a label in the Form Header section. For a report, you can add a label in the Report Header section and give it the same caption you would have given to the title of the chart.

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Title

  1. Right-click an area of the chart -> Chart Object -> Open
  2. Right-click the title and click Format Chart Title...
  3. In the Format Chart Title dialog box, click the Font property page
  4. In the Font combo box, select Times New Roman
  5. In the Size combo box, select 22
  6. Click the arrow of the Color combo box and select Blue

    Format Chart Title

  7. Click OK
  8. Close Microsoft Graph
  9. To preview the chart, switch the form to Form View

    Chart

  10. Switch it back to Design View
  11. Return to Microsoft Excel
  12. Click Chart Title and edit it to display Properties by Type
  13. Return to Microsoft Access

Chart Figures

To represent its numbers, a chart draws some geometric figures, depending on the type of chart. These figures can be rectangles, pie slices, triangles, cones, etc. To paint these figures, by default, the chart engine uses some randomly selected colors from its own list. You can either change these colors or apply some preset drawings. You can also design and use any custom picture to paint the chart's shapes.

To format the geometric figures of a chart, right-click one of them and click Format Data Series.

By default, when you have just created a chart that uses one column for its values, Microsoft Graph applies the same formatting, such as the same color, to all of its figures. You can keep this or treat each figure separately. To separate the figures, after opening Microsoft Graph, right-click a shape and configure it individually.  

If you create a chart that uses more than one column, a separate category with its own color would be automatically created. You can then format each category as you see fit.

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Shapes

  1. Right-click an area of the chart -> Chart Object -> Open
  2. On the graph, click one of the rectangular boxes (click once and release the mouse). Notice that each rectangular box has a small black square in the middle
  3. Click the left rectangular box
  4. When it is surrounded by 8 small black squares, right-click it and click Format Data Point...
  5. In the Format Data Point dialog box, make sure the Patterns property page is selected.
    In the Border section, click the Custom radio button
  6. Click the arrow of the Color combo box and click Blue (6th column - 2nd row)
  7. In the Area section, click the Pale Blue color (1st section - 6th column - 5th row)

    Format Data Point

  8. Click OK
  9. Right-click the second column from left and click Format Data Point...
  10. In the Format Data Point dialog box, make sure the Patterns property page is selected. In the Area section, click Fill Effects...
  11. In the Gradient property page of the Fill Effects dialog box, in the Colors section, click the One Color radio button
  12. Click the arrow of the Color 1 button and select Brown (2nd column, 1st row)
  13. In the Color 1 section, drag the thumb of the slider somewhere to the right but not completely
  14. In the Shading section, click the Vertical radio button
  15. In the Variants section, click the box on 1st column - 2nd row

    Fill Effects

  16. Click OK
  17. Click OK
  18. Format the other rectangular boxes as you see fit and return to Microsoft Access
  19. Close Microsoft Graph

    Chart

  20. Switch the form to Form View
  21. Print the form
  22. Display the form in Design View

Chart's Labels

By default, when a chart is drawn, it is equipped with shapes and a separate legend. If you want, you can display the value of each part and possibly a name next to it. This is done through a label. On a large chart, a label can also be used in the absence of a legend. In fact, you can delete a legend and simply use a label.

To add the labels to a chart, right-click a box on the chart and click Format Data Series. Once in the Format Data Series dialog box, click the Data Labels tab:

In the Label Contains group box, click the desired check box(es) and click OK.

Practical Learning: Formatting Labels on a Chart

  1. Right-click an area of the chart -> Chart Object -> Open
  2. Right-click Single Family and click Format Axis...
  3. In the Format Axis dialog box, click the Font tab if necessary.
    In the Font combo box, select Garamond
  4. Click the Color combo box, select blue
  5. Click OK

    Formatting Labels on a Chart

  6. Right-click Townhouse and click Format Axis...
  7. In the Patterns tab, in the Major Tick Mark Type section, click the None radio button.
    In the Minor Tick Mark Type section, click the None radio button if necessary
  8. In the Tick Mark Labels section, click the Low radio button

    Format Axis

  9. Click OK
  10. Right-click one of the rectangular boxes of the chart and click Format Data Series
  11. Click the Data Labels tab
  12. Click the Value check box
  13. Click OK

    Chart Labels

  14. Close Microsoft Graph
  15. Preview the form
  16. Save the form then switch it back to Design View

The Chart's Background

One more way you can enhance the appearance of a chart is to draw a background wall behind it. By default, the background of a chart is painted in white. You can use a different color to paint it, a design pattern or a picture to cover it. Before formatting the chart, open Microsoft Graph. To format its wall, right-click the chart and click Format Chart Area... This would open the Format Chart dialog box where you can make the necessary changes.

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Walls

  1. Right-click an area of the chart -> Chart Object -> Open
  2. Right-click the chart and click Format Chart Area...
  3. In the Format Chart Area dialog box, in the Area section, click Fill Effects
  4. In the Fill Effects dialog box, click the Pattern tab
  5. In the Pattern section, click the box in 8th column - 5th row
  6. Set the Foreground to White (8th column - 5th row)
  7. Set the Background to Tan (2nd column - 6th row)

  8. Click OK
  9. Click OK

    Chart Background

  10. Close Microsoft Graph
  11. To preview the chart, switch the form to Form View
  12. Print the form
  13. Close Microsoft Access
  14. When asked whether you want to save, click No
  15. In Microsoft Excel, in the Design tab of the Ribbon, in the Chart Styles section, click the down-pointing arrow and click Style 9

    Creating a Chart in Microsoft Excel

  16. Close Microsoft Excel
  17. When asked whether you want to save, click No
 
 
   
 

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