Case Study Solution – Mom Needing Help on Science Fair Graphs/Charts

Yesterday I presented a case study on assisting a mom in creating a chart for a science fair.

You can read more about it here:

Case Study – Mom Needing Help on Science Fair Graphs/Charts

So here is what I did.

First we need to see what the data should look like in Excel.  I have deduced that the data that the mom has posted in the forum would have looked like this in a spreadsheet:

Excel 2010





A B C D E F G H
1 Subject A
2 Wii Sports Real Sports
3 Tennis Pulse Before Pulse After Steps Taken Pulse Before Pulse After Steps Taken
4 Trial 1 80 88 10 80 120 1119
5 Trial 2 80 84 11 88 128 1242
6 Trial 3 84 88 10 84 124 1181
7 Bowling
8 Trial 1 84 88 5 84 88 246
9 Trial 2 80 84 6 80 88 263
10 Trial 3 80 80 7 82 88 255
11 Baseball
12 Trial 1 80 84 19 96 112 887
13 Trial 2 80 88 20 80 96 961
14 Trial 3 84 88 20 88 104 924
15
16 Subject B
17 Wii Sports Real Sports
18 Tennis Pulse Before Pulse After Steps Taken Pulse Before Pulse After Steps Taken
19 Trial 1 64 96 14 68 72 1028
20 Trial 2 68 96 46 68 88 2316
21 Trial 3 72 100 50 64 88 1678
22 Bowling
23 Trial 1 76 120 26 60 64 199
24 Trial 2 68 100 37 62 84 350
25 Trial 3 72 128 29 66 88 225
26 Baseball
27 Trial 1 76 96 22 64 104 825
28 Trial 2 72 112 26 64 108 1058
29 Trial 3 72 124 17 68 112 987

Sheet1

Looking at the data, it appears that there are several groupings or comparisons that need to be made.

We need to group the Data for the 3 Trials (Wii Sports vs Real Sports) for each sport (Tennis, Bowling and Baseball) for each subject.

This sounds like a perfect solution for an Excel Multi-Level Category Labels.

What is that you ask?



It is just the best, easiest way ever in Excel to create groupings in Excel Charts and Graphs.

To do this, we first need to re-arrange the data.  You may need to do this as well with the data you have for your Company Dashboard Charts.

So this is how we need to rearrange the same data:
Excel 2010

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A B C D E F G
1 Pulse Before PulseAfter Steps Taken
2 Subject A Tennis Trial 1 Wii Sports 80 88 10
3 Real Sports 80 120 1119
4 Trial 2 Wii Sports 80 84 11
5 Real Sports 88 128 1242
6 Trial 3 Wii Sports 84 88 10
7 Real Sports 84 124 1181
8 Bowling Trial 1 Wii Sports 84 88 5
9 Real Sports 84 88 246
10 Trial 2 Wii Sports 80 84 6
11 Real Sports 80 88 263
12 Trial 3 Wii Sports 80 80 7
13 Real Sports 82 88 255
14 Baseball Trial 1 Wii Sports 80 84 19
15 Real Sports 96 112 887
16 Trial 2 Wii Sports 80 88 20
17 Real Sports 80 96 961
18 Trial 3 Wii Sports 84 88 20
19 Real Sports 88 104 924
20 Subject B Tennis Trial 1 Wii Sports 64 96 14
21 Real Sports 68 72 1028
22 Trial 2 Wii Sports 68 96 46
23 Real Sports 68 88 2316
24 Trial 3 Wii Sports 72 100 50
25 Real Sports 64 88 1678
26 Bowling Trial 1 Wii Sports 76 120 26
27 Real Sports 60 64 199
28 Trial 2 Wii Sports 68 100 37
29 Real Sports 62 84 350
30 Trial 3 Wii Sports 72 128 29
31 Real Sports 66 88 225
32 Baseball Trial 1 Wii Sports 76 96 22
33 Real Sports 64 104 825
34 Trial 2 Wii Sports 72 112 26
35 Real Sports 64 108 1058
36 Trial 3 Wii Sports 72 124 17
37 Real Sports 68 112 987

Sheet3

Now that we have the data rearranged, we just need to chart it.





Simply highlight the range and create a 2-D Clustered Column Chart.  It will look like this:image

Check out how the Horizontal Axis groups the data.  Lets look closer just at the data from Subject A:image

If you right click on the Horizontal Axis and then click on Format Axis… from the pop-up menu.  You will then see the Axis Options dialog box:SNAGHTMLcce7033

Notice that Multi-level Category Labels is checked.  If you uncheck the Multi-level Category Labels check box from the Axis Options in the Format Axis dialog box, you chart will be changed to this:image





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Now it is back to a normal column chart in that the Horizontal Category Axis Labels are only showing the first column next to your data.  Not cool.

Here is a simpler chart using Multi-level Category Labels:



Excel 2010

A B C
1 Birds Canaries 6
2 Parrots 7
3 Amphibians Frogs 5
4 Turtles 8
5 Mammals Dogs 4
6 Cats 6

Sheet2

image.png

So how it makes things so much easier to read?





Try it for yourself.

Back to our story, what did Mom think of my solution?

Here is what MomNeedingHelp wrote back:

Re: Help with Science Fair Graphs/Charts

OMG!!! I am in awe! You did it FOR me??? Silly me, I am so emotional over it. I have sat in front of the pc, searching and searching and searching. I actually found your website today, from here, and was going to try and copy some of the things on your website.
I just can’t express enough appreciation. I have been an at home mom for 15 years, now going back to middle school for the 3rd time with my kids, 4th time for me in total.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now, how do I learn to do stuff like that so I can teach my kids?
You are the best!!!!
Did I say Thank you? Thank you!!!!

 Video Tutorial: http://youtu.be/2CxyyPvegjk

HOW COOL – But I wonder if I won the science fair?  Well, I didn’t do the test, I just helped the kid make a really cool chart out of his data.  Check it all out in this video tutorial:



Do you think you can use this technique in your next Executive Company Dashboard?

Let me know in the comments.

Steve=True





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5 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, I would like to know whether the Multi-Level Category Labels are available for the Mac 2011 version of Excel.
    I’ve been trying to do something similar to the second option you showed in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuSI0XDJynY

    But I can’t get the Multi-level category option to show up; it just reverts provides the regular max/min/interval axis options.

    Do you know whether it’s possible to get Multi-Level category labels on Excel for Mac? How would I do that/How is it different?

    Thank you so much for your tutorials! They are so helpful.

  2. This site has been really helpful so far! I have a follow up question. Could I create a secondary axis for one of the horizontal subcategories? For example, from the case study above, can I put the “Steps Taken” category on the secondary axis. The Steps Taken values are on average much higher than the “Pulse” ones so the Pulse information isn’t that well represented on the vertical axis. In other words, the Steps Taken bar is huge compared to the Pulse ones so Pulse becomes less meaningful when it’s so small to see in the graph. Is there a way to put “Steps Taken” on the secondary axis and Pulse info on the Primary Axis so the Pulse units could be more granular?

    My issue: I have clustered two stacked columns for each month in the year – one column is dollar value of purchases and the other is the number of purchases. Stacking is for the purchase type (service vs product). The each purchase is very high dollar value while there aren’t that many total purchases in a given month so the dollar value bar is much bigger than the number bar. In fact the number bar barely shows up on the chart. Is there anyway to put dollar value on the primary axis and number of purchases on the secondary axis so the info can be displayed better?

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