Numbers are useful – but numbers can be incredibly dull too. Thankfully, with Numbers on your Mac, you can ensure even the most boring data can become visually appealing, and it is all down to the easy way the app enables charts to be integrated into your work.
The Numbers app lets you present your data in a variety of ways, from simple bar and pie charts to scatter and line charts. You can have them in 3D or make them interactive so that you can use them in presentations. Interactive charts also allow for clearer interpretation. Here we look not only at the best of the charts available to you in Numbers but also at the best times for you to use them. Certain charts work better with particular data sets and so we will explore them in greater detail. Picking the right chart can improve a presentation to no end, so it pays to get it right.
Top 10: Charts in Numbers
1 Column charts
If you have a set of data that relates to a period of time then a column chart works perfectly. With categories appearing horizontally and the values vertically, you can clearly see how the data is varying as time passes. Numbers also has lots of great colour options.
2 Pie charts
Pie charts are well used. They can be a fantastic way to present a single set of data and they are great for displaying percentages. Pie charts work out the relationship of each part of your data, quickly showing the dominant and least dominant components.
3 Line charts
If you want to show underlying trends over time then the line chart is the best option. Here we are using the line chart to display sales figures over a set period and we can see all of the ups and downs very clearly with circles showing the set points for our data.
4 More line charts
Line charts are also excellent for comparisons. With extra data, you can show how one set of figures relates to another. In our example we can compare the amount of revenue coming in via sales with the amount of expenses being shelled out each month.
5 Bar charts
Bar charts are similar to column charts and they are best used if you are looking to compare data at a fixed period. Bar chart categories tend to be qualitative and the bars can be kept haphazard or arranged in any order – from highest to lowest or the other way around.
6 Area charts
There is not much difference between an area chart and a line chart except that the areas beneath the lines are coloured in, making for a stronger, more visual structure. With colour coding, you can better see the difference between the sets of data you are using.
7 3D charts
You are able to take advantage of 3D charts. This is an example of the area chart in 3D, but there are also 3D column, bar, line and pie charts available. They are best used in presentations that require a great, dynamic look, although they can make it harder to read.
8 Scatter charts
With numeric values running along both axis, you can use a scatter chart to display points at the intersection of an x and y numerical value. These values combine into a single data point. Line charts would take the two sets of data and chart them separately.
9 Combination charts
Here you can see a chart that takes one set of data and turns it into a column chart before taking another set and plotting it as a line chart. These charts are great if you have one set of data that is visually more important than the other, allowing for effective comparisons.
10 Interactive charts
You can also make interactive charts. These are great for presentations and they also allow you to present data very cleanly. Use them when showing the passing of time and you will see the charts altering, depending on the fixed point you are at.