Tip #6: What are aggregated charts? How do they improve visualizations?

Tip #6: What are aggregated charts? How do they improve visualizations?

Charts, as we know, are vital data visualization tools. Pivot tables, on the other hand, are useful for giving you a summary of your entire data set. Aggregate charts, in turn, allow you to create visualizations of your pivot tables, giving you the best of both worlds!

What's the difference between an aggregated chart and a normal one?

Consider sales data from across three Regions, by three agents, selling three Items. Here's a regular chart on units sold by item.

Here's the same chart, after an aggregation.

Though both charts were based on the same range, the second chart has been aggregated based on the total number of units sold for each item. The chart is more insightful, and represents data better than the first chart.

How do I build an aggregated chart?

Zoho Sheet provides an option to aggregate charts based on different series and different formulas in the contextual side pane. To create an aggregated chart, you must first answer these two questions:

  1. Which series would you like to use to aggregate the chart?
  2. What function would you like to use to aggregate the series?
For instance, in the sample chart above, the series of Units sold was aggregated using the SUM function. It would also help to place a series in the Axis, and the Legend part. 

It's up to you if you want the other series in the data to be represented as either the Axis or the Legend of the chart. In our earlier example, the Item series, was used as the Axis of the chart, so each item was taken as entries in a series, and the corresponding SUM of Units sold has become the value of the entry. 

What exactly is the difference between making a particular data series the Axis of the chart, or the Legend of a chart? Making one series the axis of the chart will mean that you want to represent the different entries in the series (Pen Sets, Binders, and so on) as the different values of a single, collective series.

Making a series the Legend will mean that you represent every unique entry in the data set as a different series. (Pen Set as a separate series, and Binder as a separate series in this case). No series can be named as both the Legend and the Axis of a chart.

What do I do if I have more than two series of data?

Here's an extension of the sample data. Now, in addition to the Item and Units sold series, we also have Sales and the Region. We've decided to add the Region as the Legend, and make the Item series be the Axis, aggregating the data based on Sum of Units sold. The result? A chart that provides almost all of the insights you would need from the table alone!

Here's a variation of the same chart, but aggregating the data based on Sum of Sales

Play around with aggregated charts to get more insights out of your data! Follow our community, and our  Twitter handle for more such spreadsheet tips and tricks. 

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