5 Tips for Using Charts Effectively in PowerPoint Presentations

5 Tips for Using Charts Effectively in PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint was originally designed for business presentations; therefore, it has evolved as an integral part of different types of presentations. As a business presentation software, it has become a favourite medium to teach or assist in the development process of a particular project.  However, the potential of the software lies on a hands-on role and it needs to be properly used to ensure its success in the process.

PowerPoint is widely used for presenting data. The most popular chart types that can be created in PowerPoint are the arrow and bar chart. Most commonly used types of PowerPoint charts are radial, shape, area and line charts. In addition to providing a project management solution, the best management solution must also support a robust project governance solution and a proven project support system.

For example, you need to have a structured processes and tools to manage, measure, and report on all your project’s tasks, assets, and the technical resources needed to implement it. You need to know exactly what has been accomplished, how much was wasted, and what can be improved, in order to minimize future costs and minimize the project risk. A best management solution provides all of the above.  There are many software providers that provide best project management tools.

With each project having varying requirements, selecting the best charts/diagrams can be confusing at times. Therefore, we have put together popular charts used in PowerPoint with their significant features to help you make an informed choice.


Gantt Charts

In a Gantt chart, the grid layout represents the timeline, or the sequence of activities that need to be completed and that are interdependent. The lines represent the activities that need to be completed, the tasks can be as simple as addition of one or two lines to describe a single stage. The Gantt chart is numbered in units of 1 and 5. For example, Gantt charts are numbered 0-2.

If your work is in units of 1 and 5, as shown in the Gantt chart, you could use a Gantt chart to monitor the execution of each stage of the activities and make adjustments if any occurs. With Gantt charts you can highlight and emphasize the activities that are the most important in your project. Gantt charts provide insights into activities that matter most. A Gantt chart is a small representation of your plan of action for the coming days. A Gantt chart lets you visualize how tasks are going to be done and progress from one cycle to the next. A gantt chart is useful for a lot of planning tasks.


Agile Methodology

Scrum Project management project scenarios using this methodology are characterized by a “constantly evolving, spontaneous, self-organizing, and re-adjusting” environment. It provides you with a very clear line of sight into both the vision and the concrete deliverables. With a pre-scrum meeting, you make an investment in the critical time window before an actual project commences.  Generally, you have two perspectives on each work item. The first one is your team’s perspective and the second is the customer’s perspective. By working in parallel, both perspectives together will drive your team towards a successful completion of the project.


Waterfall Charts

In these waterfall charts you can easily visualise how one or several processes will result in a certain result. For example, you can easily create a growth chart that illustrates the required number of sales in a specific quarter. When you run a scenario (which usually requires a forecast) you can easily visualise that there is a “if” or “when” in which your sales targets are met. With this diagram you can also easily see how two or more scenarios will intersect. 


Waterfall Methodology

This methodology is almost like an extremely organised project management method which has the following elements: 

  • High planning and control 
  • Produces smooth working and maintenance schedule 
  • Manages multiple activities efficiently

 In short, waterfall methodologies for project management aim to deliver quality outputs in a short time by closely following a set of rules and procedures. A comprehensive project management roadmap is developed and defined based on project needs and related goals. To deliver the best results, deliverables are separated into the different stages of a project.


Mekko Charts

Based on your business needs, you can create a model of your data by choosing your preferred charts. Now it’s time to move to the next step to give the data an identity. Model-based Design- We are just going to lay down our data (filtered for looking good) and our first and most important step in data modeling is creating a model of the data.  First, let’s define a database schema of our dataset and then use the data we’ve created to create a model. Simple schema is used here for simplicity. Now, we can start creating a model of the data by adding columns to our data model and defining their type.


Radar Chart

Not to confuse with bubble chart, which is supposed to visualize a relationship in which the relative sizes of individual elements do not change in time. Also, while most of the charts use Cartesian coordinates, radar charts use what is known as polar coordinates: the center of the chart is given by x (direction) and y (height), and the horizontal and vertical axes are given by z (zonal) and w (area). The chart also includes a sign and bar to determine the strength of the relationship between the two axes. 


Scatter Charts

A simple scatter chart that is frequently used when you want to see how various areas of your data evolve over time.

1. The 2-axis chart helps visualize the trajectory of the real-time values. This is very useful when analyzing streaming data or when you want to show the direction of an event. 

2. A cross section plot is used when you want to look at the vertical axis in terms of the cross-section and the horizontal axis in terms of the locations. 

3. A small scatter plotting chart is used when you want to compare an industry with another. It works especially well in comparing two or more industries or comparing two industries at the same time. 


Combined chart

When you insert a chart, specify the chart type you want. Column and line graphs are built-in to PowerPoint, and a variety of different forms of charts can be embedded as well.   2. axes and axes labels   Links can be added to axes to increase their specificity in your graphs. You can have axes be point, line or bar-shaped. They can have labels applied to them as well. Labels can be applied to both axes and the chart itself.  3. filter – make a difference   Filter can be used to amplify the presentation of data. Filters make different graphs fit together better. For example, you can use a filter to group various types of data into two different graphs. You can group verticals or horizontal lines together. Or with combined charts you can combine multiple vertical and horizontal charts to show changes over time.


Line chart

Without watermark- line chart visualizes values based on line levels. This allows the user to easily compare different types of data to see whether some of the values are constant or fluctuate.  importing a chart from Excel.  2. graph that combine two different types- When you link two different line charts, you can easily show two different levels of the same data. This type of graph is great for showing data from two different data series with different scales.

1. Image without watermark- The .PNG file format stores your original image as a PNG file, without watermark. A new file, (.pptx) is produced with every exported PDF file. 


Animating your charts

A key way of illustrating statistics or other data visually is through an animated chart. Animated charts provide a fun way to help your audience understand and analyse data. However, a lot of people become intimidated by chart animations, so it’s important to understand the basics. This article aims to explain and show how to use the basic animations in PowerPoint and then show you some examples of how to use the different animation options. By default, animated charts are grey, this is because they do not contain a “data object” or visualisation. You can change this by clicking on the little cross symbol and selecting a colour.

Animation is a great way to show trends that are plotted over time. As you talk about a graph in your presentation, you can show it moving or fading in and out to help the viewer visualize that data. This is much more effective than using a moving bar chart to show a trend over time. Animation makes a very effective use of charts and graphs. If you have an image to work with, you can use motion to add interest to a chart and graph. You can start with a single picture, and add motion to it to create something that really pops. It can also be great to add sound effects to a graph, or maybe even the sound of thunder or a bell.  Animation is a great way to add interest to charts and graphs.


PowerPoint and Excel

Before we can animate any graph, the chart must have a row format which makes it possible to visualize a value in many different ways. This is usually a flat layout with vertical and horizontal axis and two sub-sections for data values. The axes are horizontal and vertical axis because there are some cases that graph labels cannot be shown. All the data in a flat graph has the same height. To animate any graph, it requires that all the data on the axes are visible in a table format which gives all rows the same height and only the labels and values are changed.


Links to PowerPoint charts with Excel

You can link your PowerPoint charts with Excel that you have created. 

  • Drag and drop navigation – This tab allows you to drag a selected section of a chart and then to drop it into another area on the screen. 
  • Transitions- This tab provides navigation for manipulating interactive charts. A small icon represents each transition, which you can select to navigate to another chart. 
  • Best chart and graph icons- First of all, choose your favorite icon for your interactive chart. This can be a geometric shape, a mark or an indicator such as a red bar or a green bar. Use this icon as a reference and fill the entire area to your chart.


Modifying an Excel chart in PowerPoint

You can create a colored line overlay and change the colors of the axis labels in Excel. In PowerPoint, you can easily use the Paint Bucket Tool to modify and add annotations to the data. 

A web panel- To create a web panel in PowerPoint, simply copy and paste the link of a web panel, and it will appear in your PowerPoint. The main difference between a web panel and a web chart is that a web panel is a web application which your audience can use from their own computers, so you don’t have to worry about transferring it. You can use a web panel to present data in a new format, whether you are presenting it in a web form or a graphic map. 



PowerPoint is an essential tool for learning. It’s easy to learn, and it makes it easy for people to understand what you want them to know. The ease of learn and the familiarity of PowerPoint are a major factor in its success.  That said, you should look at other tools too. The best tools are used by the people who know how to use them. Learn these tools well and you will see a huge improvement in your productivity and in your communications with clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders.  That’s the power of learning and using the right tools.  Start with these powerful tips to get the most out of PowerPoint, then explore how to make PowerPoint work for you.  P.S. With this tip, you can customize your fonts in PowerPoint even when you’re offline.

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3 thoughts on “5 Tips for Using Charts Effectively in PowerPoint Presentations”

  1. […] are a number of data related PowerPoint charts that is in-built to represent numerical information. Use them extensively to illustrate numbers and […]

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