Bubble Charts

Break out the Bubbly!

Its well past the new year so a little bubbly is long overdue. Bubble charts are great in that they allow you to graph in 3 dimensions: Length, Height and Breadth (or area). Although the steps below are written with Excel in mind, they can also be applied to PowerPoint.

Watch this 3½ minute video to learn the basics regarding interpreting and creating bubble charts.

Creating a Bubble Chart

  1. Input your data, placing the X-axis data in the first column, Y-axis data in the second column, and the area (bubble size) in the third column.
  2. Select the data.
  3. On the Insert tab, in the Chart group, Click XY and select from Bubble types. A Bubble chart is added to the worksheet

Note: If necessary click Switch Row/Column (on the Chart Tools:Design tab) to swap the series data.

Adding Data Labels

  1. CLICK on one of the bubbles in the series. The entire series becomes selected.
  2. RIGHT+CLICK  one of the selected bubbles and select Add Data Labels. Data labels will appear.
  3. To format label appearance and content, RIGHT+CLICK on a bubble and select Format Data Labels.

Formatting the Bubble Appearance (Fill)

  1. CLICK on one of the bubbles in the series. The entire series becomes selected..
  2. CLICK (again) on the bubble. The single bubble will be selected.
  3. RIGHT+CLICK on the selected bubble and select Format Data Point. The Format Data Point dialog/pane appears.
  4. Select Fill and set the fill options (e.g., color, pattern, fill, etc).
  5. Close.
  6. Repeat as necessary for remaining bubbles.


Additional reading:

Comments and questions are always welcome!

Excel 2013 new feature: Timeline Slicer

What’s New in Excel 2013?  Timeline Slicers !

Timeline Slicers are a feature new to Excel 2013.
If your PivotTable contains dates, a Timeline Slicer affords you and your reviewers an easy method to filter and scale of the dates displayed..

(For detailed instructions on creating PivotTables review the 5 minute video tutorial  PivotTables and Slicers )

Inserting the Timeline Slicer

  1. Click here to open the file PivotTable Advanced Functions.xls file.
  2. Review the Sales sheet. This is the source of our PivotTable data.
  3. Click the Summary Sheet. A PivotTable has already been inserted, with the dates of Weekly Sales displayed in Rows, and a Slicer for the Category field applied.
  4. Select one of the cells containing data (e.g. A4).
  5. On the Ribbon, on the PIVOTTABLE TOOLS: ANALYZE tab, in the Filters group, click Insert Timeline. The Insert Timelines dialog appears.
  6. Check Weekly Sales and click OK. The Weekly Sales Timeline Slicer appears.
Weekly Sales Timeline Slicer

Working with Timeline Slicers

  • CLICK or CLICK+ DRAG on the timescale to filter timeline.
  • To change the scale, click the Level drop-down, at right, and select Years, Quarters, Months, or Days.
  • To quickly format, select a style from  the Timeline Styles on the TIMELINE TOOLS: OPTIONS  tab of the Ribbon.


Comments and questions are always welcome!

PivotTables & Slicers

Want a quick introduction to PivotTables? Watch this 10 minute video. I demonstrate the basic features of PivotTables and feature Slicers, new to Excel 2010. And for more, view the earlier post: PivotTable Intro, Step by Step.

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