No, Tufte’s Charts Are not Plain and Simple

A new data visualization research paper finds that chart junk does not harm accuracy and actually improves recall. The paper is an interesting read but, unfortunately, not for the right reasons.

I’ll discuss the paper in an upcoming post. Today I just want to comment a sentence from the introduction:
“This minimalist [Tufte’s] perspective advocates plain and simple charts that maximize […]

Want to Improve Your Excel Skills? Learn Access

What if you love Excel for all the wrong reasons? What if its flexibility creates nothing more than a glorified mess? What if you start neglecting the skills that truly matter?

Every formula in Excel is an accident waiting to happen. Sometimes, a parameter is missing, sometimes it points to the wrong cell, sometimes you use absolute references instead […]

By |March 29th, 2010|Data Visualization Tools|Comments Off|

I’m Leaving my Day Time Job

Yes, I’m leaving in May.

Things (economy-wise) don’t look pretty, and leaving a steady job may seem unbearably self-indulgent. So, why I’m I doing this? Yes, I was unhappy, and yes, money is important too. But there’s something else.

Tom says I have a mission. Well, I don’t take myself that seriously, but I do want to find and share my […]

New! Excel 2007 Dashboard Online Tutorial

OK, I’m very please to announce that members area is now open and a new online Excel 2007 dashboard tutorial is available. Go ahead an open a free account: the first two modules are available there and more free stuff is coming soon. As promised, current users will get free access to this course.

Know more about the dashboard […]

The Wow Factor: How to Use Charts to Impress Your Boss

You are in the middle of a presentation and your worst nightmare suddenly comes true: your boss yawns, and for the right reasons too: your presentation is dull, your charts are dull dull dull and you are boring your audience to tears.

The solution? High impact charts that keep your audience glued to the screen.
What Are High Impact Charts?
High impact, […]

By |February 23rd, 2010|Context|13 Comments|

Members Area Update

Regular readers know that I’m updating my Excel dashboard tutorial and making it available online in a protected area of In exchange for their feedback, current users will get free access to the updated tutorial for Excel 2003 and also to the new Excel 2007 version.

This is something I’ll be working on throughout the year of 2010 (and […]

By |February 1st, 2010|Uncategorized|Comments Off|

Don’t Try to Be Funny (Grumpy Old Man’s Guide to Making Charts)

Did you know that turkey consumption soared after the launch of Microsoft Windows 1.0? And did you know that this growth trajectory lasted until Windows 3.0? Coincidence? I don’t think so…

I find this amusing. Sorry.

By the way, don’t try to be funny when making charts. Most of the time you’ll fail, specially if you use clip art, kitten pictures […]

By |January 28th, 2010|Design|1 Comment|

Stephen Few, Data Visualization, Eye Candy and the Pie

Stephen Few left a comment in my post “Is Data Visualization Useful? You’ll Have to Prove it”. We all have much to learn with Steve, so instead of leaving the discussion buried in an old post, I thought it would be interesting to make it more visible. Please read the comment then come here and join the discussion. Here […]

By |January 11th, 2010|Context|14 Comments|

The Fish and The Fishing Rod: Core Skills for the Data Visualization Worker

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

Here is a good example of give-a-fish versus teach-to-fish: if you search for “excel dashboard” you’ll get at the top of the search results my own Excel dashboard tutorial and Charley Kyd’s Excel dashboard reports. These are […]

By |January 4th, 2010|Context|7 Comments|

How Can I Help You? My Plans for 2010

Big changes in this blog for 2010! First, since slightly more people search for “Excel charts” than for “Jorge Camoes” I decided to accept reality and move the blog to a new domain name, from to Also, the blog will be hosted on a more reliable host, and will get a serious face-lift. Excel Charts for the […]