Charts and graphs are super ways to make your point very effec­tively. You can gather data and pre­pare a chart to dis­play your find­ings, iden­tify oppor­tu­ni­ties as a result of what visu­ally appears, and update the data to show changes or progress. Many soft­ware appli­ca­tions are avail­able to help you pre­pare graphs in a jiffy. Check the Inter­net or your local com­puter to find out more about them.
Keep these tips in mind when you pre­pare charts and graphs:

  • Write a descrip­tive title. Place the title above the chart or graph.
  • Use an appro­pri­ate scale. For exam­ple, if your finan­cial range is from $100,000 to $200,000, don’t show a scale of $100,000 to $500,000.
  • Cre­ate a leg­end if the chart isn’t self-explanatory. Leg­ends explain the sym­bols that appear in the chart.
  • Keep the design sim­ple. Elim­i­nate any infor­ma­tion your read­ers don’t need to know.
  • Pre­pare a sep­a­rate chart or graph for each point. If you try to squeeze too much infor­ma­tion on one graph, you defeat your pur­pose of mak­ing it sim­ple to read.

Remem­ber: If a pixel is truly worth a thou­sand words, you can elim­i­nate the thou­sand words with a well-done graphic. Make the graphic self-contained, tie it to the text, and

place it as close to the text as pos­si­ble. Clearly label all the parts so the graphic is self-explanatory and sends a clear message.

- Tech­ni­cal Writ­ing For Dum­mies® by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts

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