I started creating Excel versions of the graphs in the Financial Times’ Visual Vocabulary a couple of weeks ago and have successfully completed all but 13. The FT’s graphic library was based on the Graphic Continuum work Severino Ribecca and I have been working on for a few years now. Neither claims to have the “answer” for the “right” graph you should use or to even include all of the possible graphs, but they both serve to help you explore other possibilities for your data visualization work.
Today, I’m publishing the Visual Vocabulary graphs across eight separate Excel files in a single .zip file you can purchase and download for $10 at my PolicyViz Shop. Proceeds from your purchase primarily go to help support the PolicyViz Podcast, including audio editing and transcription services.
In the package, you will find eight separate Excel files, each one corresponding to a different category of the Visual Vocabulary. I have not included specific step-by-step instructions in those files to help you construct the charts, but I have added notes here and there to help you recreate them. I have also included some text boxes with VBA code I use to simplify the creation or styling process–VBA is not necessary to create any of these charts, but it can make some of the more tedious tasks faster.
Creating these charts in Excel adds to the growing body of Visual Vocabulary graphs created in other tools. Andy Kriebel has created most of the graphs in Tableau (and nicely sent me his workbook so I could use some of his datasets), Pratap Vardhan created a version using Vega, and Jason Thomas built a PowerBI version.
Like other data and data visualization tools, Excel has both its pros and cons. My goal in creating this resources is to demonstrate that it is possible to create different kinds of charts not in the standard Excel menu and by providing you with these templates, you will hopefully be able to create your own versions with your own data.
If you’re interested in learning more about creating data visualizations in Excel, check out my upcoming Data Visualization in Excel workshop on May 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. You can register on my Eventbrite page.