Written for students, professionals, and social scientists with little or no knowledge of data visualization principles, this complete guide presents step-by-step instructions for clearly and effectively presenting data using MS Office programs. Throughout the book, the focus is on turning raw, quantitative data into attractive, well-designed charts and tables that tell an accurate narrative about underlying information. Helpful illustrations, expert tips for solving common issues, and discussions on working efficiently are included to equip readers with the tools they need to engage their audience using a visual format.

Preparing Data for Charting

Learning Objectives

  • Identify data sources
  • Clean and organize raw data in preparation for basic analysis and charting
  • Build formulas in Excel
  • Compute descriptive statistics in Excel

We have examined many ways to create informative, visually appealing charts from data already suitable for charting. In this chapter, we discuss getting data to the point where it’s ready to be charted. We suggest a few sources of free data, best practices for downloading data, and tips for reviewing and cleaning the data. We’ll rely on Excel features and functions to review and organize data and to create summary tables appropriate for chart creation.

Sources of Free Data

The federal government is the largest producer of data in the United States. There are many offices dedicated to providing free access ...

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