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The Daily Graph
Final whistle

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2013-05-08 19:30:42

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: /05/daily-chart-6

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

It saves time to re-use charts and only adapt them to new data. That's what The Economist did (they use charts with this design about once per month) and that's what we did*. The pictured data series added a nice twist.

Although the chart looks somewhat complicated it really is not - and still looks quite nice. The main trick is plotting the visible data on the secondary axis. The primary axis is used for a few dummy data series that cover up the vertical grid lines where they shouldn't be visible.

The Managers' data series and the labels with the club names are what makes this chart look different. They are very easily created: the club names are in fact in a data series with category name as data label. The data series has one value to make it look like fixed width. The Managers' data series is almost plain vanilla. It is formatted using picture format (we pasted the picture separately in the workbook so that you can use that too). Since both data series are displayed to the left of "zero", Excel needs to be tricked by using negative values instead of positives. That ought to be old hat.

Looking at the workbook explains everything if it is not clear yet.

* We took our chart from April 5, 2013 as starting point. See The cost of driving for more comments on how to create the chart

The stats:

Our assessment of the difficulty of the chart: 7 (out of 10)

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

Time it took us to create the chart: 19 minutes (because we did not start from scratch)

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