Delightful, strategy-shifting, and totally free ideas for your next data viz

Slidedeck Planning Sheet

Holster that mouse! Before you crack open PowerPoint to crank out some slides, take a step back and sketch. Your time in front of the computer will be far more productive (as in, you’ll save hours roaming stock photo sites) if you think through your slides on paper before you…

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Guest Post: Word Cloud Dog Vomit, An Illustrated Rant

My colleague Humphrey Costello delivers the funniest, snarkiest Ignite sessions at the American Evaluation Association’s annual conference. I’m so happy to give him this platform to articulate the answer to one of the questions I am asked the most, about the phenomenon known as word clouds. 1st ingredient: Long ago,…

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Organize your Reporting with a Style Sheet Template

Dudes, I know report writing is no small task. It takes lots of people working on different parts – sure. But so often I see reports that look like they’ve been Frankensteined: different fonts and colors in each section, barely stitched together into a cohesive whole. One way graphic designers…

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Finding Fonts & Passing Them On

Sometimes (okay, lots of times) you may find that you need something beyond the default fonts loaded onto your computer. None of these. But other solid, free for commercial use fonts can add the right flavor to your evaluation reports and presentations. My favorite places to…

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Rule of Thirds Template for Slide Layout

While it’s best to sketch a few ideas before you even hit the power button on your computer, once you do open your slideshow software, head first to the slide master and rearrange the default slide layouts into something more attention-grabbing. Try using the Rule of Thirds. The Rule…

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How to Make a Diverging Stacked Bar Chart in Excel

Last week my friend Ann Emery posted a dataviz challenge on something I’d been wanting to figure out for a long time: how to make a diverging stacked bar chart in Excel (I’d also heard of them as sliding bar charts, but getting our dataviz terminology on the same…

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Evaluation Executive Summaries & Reports

Examples of great evaluation reports and executive summaries ranks as one of the top questions I get by email. What’s a good exec sum look like? How long should it be? How do I incorporate graphics into a report without looking like a marketing firm? Read on, friends. I’ve pulled…

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Lessons from a 4th Grader’s PowerPoint

A son of friends, we’ll call him Avery, was tasked with every 4th grader’s nightmare – prepare and deliver a presentation on one of the US states. When I was in 4th grade, we didn’t have PowerPoint or wikipedia. I think I made a poster that includes pictures clipped from…

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Dashboard Icons in Excel

We don’t just report the facts, ma’am. We use a set of values to make judgments about the data, like which of these results is good or needs improvement, etc. We set benchmarks and cut points so our clients can understand when action needs to be taken and where. Yet…

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