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Chapter 10. Charting Data in Calc > Preparing Spreadsheets for Charts

Preparing Spreadsheets for Charts

Actually, creating and inserting a chart onto a Calc sheet is a fairly straightforward process. Most of the chart's creation is actually handled by the AutoFormat Chart Wizard. You should, however, try to design your spreadsheet itself so that the chart creation and placement process can proceed without a hitch. Here are some points to keep in mind as you create a spreadsheet that will include a chart:

  • Arrange the data in a consistent manner, either horizontally in rows or vertically in columns. Also avoid empty cells, rows, or columns within the data areas. You want a consistent block of data that includes the descriptive text related to the data itself.

  • Use row or column headings that are descriptive but short. This may seem like a contradictory statement, but when row or column headings are used as chart labels or for the legend, the chart or legend may have to be resized (to the point where they are too large) to keep from truncating the text entries.

  • Place the data on the sheet so that the sheet can also easily accommodate the inserted chart below or to the right of the data areas. This not only allows you to view the data and the chart on the computer screen, but will also make it easier to create a printout where the data and the chart appear on the same page. Figure 10.4 shows a sheet where the data and the chart have been arranged so that they can be viewed on the screen at the same time.

    Figure 10.4. Design your spreadsheets with chart placement in mind.

  • In cases where you want to chart data in a spreadsheet and you need to make multiple selections, you need to select the chart areas before starting the AutoFormat Chart Wizard. For example, if in the case of the spreadsheet shown in Figure 10.4, you only wanted to chart the region information in column A against the totals in column E, you would select the first data range (in column A) and then while holding down the Ctrl key, you would select any subsequent areas (such as the total data in column E).



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