Creating Bubble Charts for your Excel Dashboard

Categories: Excel Charts

Dashboards are becoming increasingly popular as business intelligence solutions with a growing number of applications. As this new approach to charting and data analysis develops, users and designers are constantly coming up with new approaches to dashboards and to charting. While most of us will have had experience with line charts, pie charts etc., during our school days, there are a number of new charts that can seem quite unfamiliar and often confusing.

Bubble Charts are part of this new wave of charting, which takes full advantage of all of the features that modern computing has to offer. As the name suggests, these charts use bubble-shaped circles to display data sets on a graph. While the graph itself is two dimensional, having an X- and Y- axis, the bubble charts can be used to provide a three dimensional set of data. This is because there are three variables involved with the creation of this chart. Position is of course determined by the X- and Y- coordinates, which will represent various aspects of each data point. However the relative sizes of the bubbles themselves also provides another dimension to the data, creating what is effectively a 3D graph.

To create a bubble chart in Excel you will therefore need to have three data columns. One of these columns will be used to determine the size of each bubble. Then simply select the data and go to Insert, Chart, and Bubble Chart. This chart can then be formatted in the usual way.

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