29 Oct 2011

How to animate line charts? - A twist

On a very old post of mine came a comment few days back. Though the reader did not give his/her name, the question was interesting.


The post was about animating line charts, so the lines come one after the other. For example, see the chart below.




If you want to show Series 1 first and hide Series 2 and 3, you can do so by animating the chart.  In brief, the process is as follows: Click on the chart to select it -> Choose animation (wipe from left) -> Go to animation pane (on your right) -> Under Chart Animation -> Group Chart 'By Series'. Done!


For more detailed directions click here.


The comment which came on this post was: "How does one change the order of animation?" In the method described above first Series 1 comes, then 2 and then 3. How does one get Series 3 before 2?


The answer: MS PowerPoint does not allow us to reorder the series. There is however a hack to this. I will present 3 solutions. To repeat the question again... We have series 1, 2 and 3 and we need the animation to be in the order of 1, 3 and 2. When we click series 1 comes, then 3 and then 2.


Solution 1
The answer which was posted by the reader himself/herself is as under:


Cut the table (CTRL+X)
Paste Special as 'Picture (Enhanced Metafile)'
Right click -> Group -> Un-group
Un-group again


Now all the elements of the graphs have been un-grouped.
Choose Series 1, 2 and 3 and animate them.
We can now reorder these separate animation under the animation pane.


The source of this method as shared by the reader is this.


Quick Tip: How to do Paste Special?
Copy an object -> Under Home Tab (on your extreme left) -> Paste -> Paste Special. Shortcut: Alt + E + S + V (in 2007)


Solution 2


The chart has a base excel file. If you right click on the chart and choose 'edit data' you will arrive at the excel file from which the chart has been made.


Go to the excel file and rearrange the columns. Put Series 1 in column 1, Series 3 in column 2 and Series 2 in column 3.


Having rearranged the columns, you now have to use the same old animation technique. Click on the chart and choose animation. By default now, the animation order will become Series 1, 3 and 2.




This is the base file in which we will change the order of the series. Insert a column after Series 1. Copy data from Series 3. Delete Series 3 (Column E). Then rename Column C as Series 3. That's it. We are done!


Thanks 'Anonymous' for asking the question and providing the answer too. Solution 2 looks easier if we know in which order we want to present our charts.

18 Oct 2011

Honesty Sells

Whether it be an email you are writing, a presentation you are making or a comment you are leaving on a blog. In any communication, you need to be 'honest'.


People can see through our non-sense. Even if we hide it in piles of data or rosy images or excellent animation and great looking slides.


Honesty sells. Honest wins. ALWAYS.

15 Oct 2011

16by9 > 4by3

This is no algebra problem. It is something I have realised today because today I made my first presentation in a 16 by 9 mode.


Let me explain in detail.


When you create a new presentation in MS PowerPoint the default screen aspect ratio is 4 by 3 (or 4:3). The ratio between length of the screen and the height is 4 by 3.


The book Nudge tells us that most people never change the 'default' setting of their mobile phones. What is true of mobile phones is also true of MS PowerPoint. All of us present in 4:3 mode. Most of us do not even know there is an alternative to it.


Introducing: Screen Aspect Ratio


MS PowerPoint gives you various choices of screen aspect ratio. The default setting is 4:3 but my recommendation is to try 16:9. It is one more step towards standing out. The look of your presentation will change and the audience will like it.


Where is it?
In MS PowerPoint 2010, under Design tab, choose Page Setup. Under 'Slides sized for:' choose 'On-Screen Show 16:9'. You're done!


What happens when you choose 16:9?
Your screen becomes wider. The look of your slideshow changes.


How does it look?
This is how it looks. It does make a small but important difference to the look and feel of our presentation.




Point to Note: Do not change the aspect ratio of an old presentation. Your images will get stretched. If you do want to present 16by9, start with a new file.


Choose 16by9 and take one more step towards changing the status quo and choosing to standing out. Ok, I seem to be overselling 16by9 :-)