How to Create a Graph Chart for Performances

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Creating a graph chart for a presentation or performance can be intimidating. However, once you get over the admittedly steep learning curve it can be a great way to give a performance more verisimilitude or a presentation more professionalism. The steps below are for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, but most spreadsheet programs use similar steps to create graphs.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with spreadsheet program
  • Access to large sheet printer or projector
  • Begin with the end in mind. You can either use a graph printed on large paper or project the graph during your performance. How you display the graph may determine some of your decisions later on.

  • Decide what kind of graph is appropriate for your performance. Options include a bar graph, a pie chart or a venn diagram. If you're uncertain, do a web search for images of graphs to get a representative sample.

  • Open your spreadsheet program.

  • Fill in cells within your spreadsheet with the information the graph represents. If this is a fictional performance, you can usually just make up the numbers. If you're making a business presentation, getting the right data can be its own project.

  • Fill in adjacent cells with labels for each piece of data. For instance, a graph of favorite colors would have labels like "Blue", "Red" and "Burnt Sienna".

  • Select the "Chart" function, usually located in the "Insert" tab. Select the kind of chart you want from the menu that appears. In some versions, there will be a sub-menu of styles for each chart type.

  • Click on "Select Data" and follow the directions for choosing each number and corresponding label. This varies widely from version to version, even within the same program, but the directions are usually very clear within each window.

  • Format your chart to fit your sizing needs. This may include changing colors, line and font size and manipulating the size of the chart itself.

  • If you're using physical printing, sent the graph to the printer. You can simply print the graph onto multiple pieces of regular size paper, but the assembly is a lot of work. Large printing at a print shop usually isn't expensive enough to make hand-assembly worth it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't get large printing and a projector isn't appropriate during performance, you can project your graph onto a large sheet of paper and hand-trace the graph.

References

  • Over 10 years professional experience with graphs and spreadsheets.
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