How I create charts for reports without using Excel

How I create charts for reports without using Excel

After I published my review of mobile product page designs, I had a couple of people ask how I put the charts together in the article. Their working assumption was I’d created them in Excel and they wanted to do the same.

Sorry to disappoint, but while the data was held in Excel and I did use charting to help with some analysis, the charts on the site were all hand-cranked.

I have a few templates for charting and infographics in Affinity Designer. One of these formed the base, although I adjusted it to have a portrait format rather than my usual landscape. It seemed more appropriate given the topic of mobile device design.

Chart template set out in Affinity Designer

The template has its own grid, the base axis for the charts, base bars and text styles defined. Doing this up front makes creating repeating charts that are consistent across a piece a lot quicker and easier.

Working out all the bar lengths would have been a pain in the neck, had I not cracked it a couple of years ago. The bars are created with 1 pixel width representing 1 percentage point. A bar representing 90 percent of something is 90 pixels wide, 50 pixels for 50 percent and so on. At this stage they’re too short, so I resize all the bars together to a more appropriate length. The correct proportions are preserved, the chart is accurate and the design is balanced.

Chart from report on mobile product page design showing the common labels used in call to action buttons

Using this approach it took about 10-15 minutes to get one chart done.

Tip for your own blog: build up a few templates for things like charts that you’ll use quite often. It saves a lot of time when you need to create them, and you’ll get consistency across your blog posts and reports.

You can read my report on mobile web page design here.

About Ross A Hall

Business researcher and writer. I help people form and deliver competitive strategies.

Find out more about my work or contact me via Social Media...

  • twitter
  • pinterest
  • linkedin

Stay in touch

Sign up for weekly learnings from my work and projects, commentary on content and links I've found useful on my travels.

Your email address will not be shared.

All our businesses are hurting, but we can make it through this

Are you ready to survive a recession?

Statutory Sick Pay vs the minimum wage

Why Statista isn’t a source to reference on your blog

Rotoscoped yoga

Kid on a mobile phone

The UK’s “Economically Inactive” 8.5 million people

Forget “sales”: UK retail needs something better.