This is what it looks like in Excel
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
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