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The Daily Graph
Cost-of-living index

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2013-02-07 19:25:11
 

The Economist newspaper publishes a fancy daily chart on its blog. In our blog we replicate the chart using standard run-of-the-mill Excel techniques. Usually we get close, sometimes it's more difficult.

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Here's the link to today's Economist chart:
www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013 /02/daily-chart-3

The main tricks for creating the chart in Excel are revealed further down in this blog. You can view all the ins-and-outs by downloading the Excel workbook. Use the workbook as you like: copy, change and/or distribute it -- we are pleased when you are.

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This is what it looks like in Excel

The Daily Graph

Tricks for creating the chart in Excel

The Cost-of-living index chart looked very much like the GDP forecast chart that The Economist and we did in January*. And we indeed took that chart as the starting point for this one. However, back in January we weren't too pleased with the fact that we needed nearly 30 data series to represent 12 countries. This time we found a better alternative.

We still have an X Y Scatter chart for the three data series (2012, 10 and 5 years ago) but we added the labels for the city names by adding a Bar chart that is overlaid on the Scatter chart. The labels are simply the category names. We also needed a single (but very long) data series to display the blue horizontal lines. Have a look at the Excel file for all the ins-and-outs.

Normally, we try to stick to the chart that The Economist prepared. Today we slightly deviated because we felt we could improve on the work of The Economist. The data point represent 10 years ago, 5 years ago and end of last year. They are sequential. Intuitively, most humans (in the western world, at least) expect the data points to flow from left to right. But that is obviously not the case when displaying the COL index on a horizontal slider. To suggest some sort of sequence, our version of the chart increases the bullets: a tiny one for 10 years ago, bigger for 5 years ago and biggest for last year. That way it becomes much easier to identify the movement.

See our blog posting from January* for more information on how to create the chart in Excel.

 

* See http://www.apptrac.net/en/blog/the-daily-graph/16-gdp-forecasts.html

The stats:

Our assessment of the difficulty of the chart: 8 (out of 10)

Usefulness of the chart for other purposes: 8 (out of 10)

Time it took us to create the chart: 31 minutes



 

 
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