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5 Tips for Creating Powerful Data Visualization in PowerPoint

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Data Visualization in PowerPoint

Depending on the purpose of your presentation, incorporating critical numerical data in a strategic and affecting way could be what makes or breaks a deal. Graphs, charts, and maps break up walls of text, providing audiences with a direct understanding of crucial information without having to wade through paragraphs laden with numbers and statistics. Data visualizations can highlight instrumental points and easily direct viewers to key successes (or failures) with ease.

That said, knowing when and how to incorporate data visualizations in a strategic and unique way that tells a compelling story can be challenging.

If you are not equipped with a savvy in-house design team, or if your team is too small to dedicate numerous hours to crafting a powerful PowerPoint slide deck, consider connecting with professional designers for a custom presentation. Not only will they show you how to incorporate data visualizations, but they can also craft top-tier animated and data graphics exclusively for your brand. These will certainly go beyond the regular bar chart — giving your presentation an elite edge.

Should you opt for an in-house design, here are some tips to strengthen your data storytelling for optimal audience reception.

1. Know the Story You Want to Tell

The starting point for crafting an effective data visualization is knowing what information you want to stand out and what information you need your audience members to retain. Creating an infographic where the message is cloudy or confusing defeats the purpose of its inclusion.

Organize your data before you begin creating your visuals; doing so will make for a much smoother process in the long run.

2. Choose Your Visual Wisely

Consider how many points you’d like to represent (keep this as simple as possible; only include points that help you tell your story or strengthen your message). Consider the scale of your chart and how you’d like your data quantified — dollars, percentages, people?

Line graphs generally help to indicate change over time — in other words, growth, or its opposite — whereas circle and pie charts show the breakdown of a whole, bar graphs are good for comparison, and scatter graphs help to showcase a great deal of information.

Test your data in different formats to establish which option works best for the message you’re trying to convey.

3. Use Clear Titles and Labels

Create a short and succinct title for the infographic, and very clearly label the x and y axes and each data value — use a legend if there are multiple values you’d like to represent to avoid busying the graphic.

4. Be Strategic with Your Scales

Make sure your scales accentuate your key points. For example, if your office or department hit a huge peak in sales between 2015 and 2023, make sure that this skyrocket is amplified by showing years in five- or ten-year increments instead of annually.

5. Avoid Special Effects and Unnecessary Details

Keep charts clean and concise. Avoid using shadows, bevel effects, and multiple colors, and shorten decimals to the closest round number. Keep information streamlined and to the point, letting the data speak for itself.

The Bottom Line

Data visualization can help you engage your audience, seamlessly relaying pertinent information and making it count. With these tips in mind, you’ll be better equipped to incorporate strategic infographics into your next PowerPoint presentation.