Monthly Archives: December 2014

Annotated chart data

Annotated rows and columns are an effective way to add auxiliary information to your PowerPoint charts without overcrowding the visuals and ensuring the insights are still easy to consume for the reader. At some consulting firms and companies annotated rows and columns are referred to as data rows and columns.

An annotated or data row is a horizontal set of numbers, typically under the chart, that line up with theĀ  columns of the chart. In the US food consumption bar chart below, we use the annotated row to show consumption of eggs per capita. Here the annotated row is especially useful as we can represent different units (number/capita) than those shown in the chart (pounds/capita). Instead of the annotated row we could have used a line-bar chart combination but this chart would not have been as easy to read. Furthermore, the annotated row leaves the visual focus on the primary data. The viewer or presenter may only refer to it in case of specific questions and only for certain data points.

100% stacked bar chart showing food consumption in the US

US food consumption 1970’s to 2000

An annotated or data column is a vertical set of numbers, typically to the right of the chart, that line up with the series of the chart. A common use for the annotated column is to show the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for every segment of a stacked bar chart. In the Microsoft revenue example below we use the annotated column to understand which of Microsoft’s businesses is growing the fastest. Adding this data visually to the chart, e.g. with some type of arrows, may easily become more confusing than helpful. Multiple data columns can be helpful for multiple CAGRs, like an actual one for past years and one projected according to the latest business plan.

Stacked column chart with growth arrow showing Microsoft's revenue

Microsoft revenue 2010-2013

Annotated rows and columns are a standard feature in Aploris. You can add multiple annotated rows and columns to a variety of chart types including Mekkos, waterfalls, and line charts.