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The Daily Graph
Barbie and wages

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2013-04-01 23:02:09

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: /04/daily-chart-0

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

Normally we try to recreate the chart from The Economist as identical as it can be but not today. It is April Fool's so we are entitled to some foolishness and, more importantly, we humbly think that The Economist picked the wrong representation for the data it is showing. A Scatter chart is much more appropriate than the two Column charts that The Economist used.

UPDATED: Thanks, John, for the suggestion. We now included a trend line that shows the pitiful R2 between the price of a Barbie doll and the wages for the related profession.

So enjoy our Scatter chart, which is secretly a Line chart. More April Fool's? None of that, but Excel doesn't seem to be able to get text labels on a Scatter chart. To get the required result, we abused a Line chart with markers and series names in the labels... and we also abused a date axis for the horizontal axis. Other than that, the chart is quite simple. Unfortunately it gets somewhat time-consuming due to a heavy load of manual formatting.

Have a look at the macro-free Excel workbook that you can download free of charge to check out all the nitty gritty.

The stats:

Our assessment of the difficulty of the chart: 6 (out of 10)

Usefulness of the chart for other purposes: 6 (out of 10)

Time it took us to create the chart: 44 minutes

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