Are you creating a report or write-up that requires you to compile, interpret, and then present many data sets? If yes, one of the best things that you can do to help hasten the entire report-writing process while ensuring that you create a credible end output is by using chart templates and other data visualization tools. Data visualization tools are an effective way to simplify facts, evidence, and other forms of information. Examples of which are tables, charts, graphs, infographics, plot diagrams, histograms, scatter plots, treemaps, flow charts, heat maps, and a lot more.
In this article, we focus on charts and how they can make data more readable and accessible. Also included below are multiple downloadable examples of different kinds of charts.
Elements of an Effective Chart
A chart becomes an effective data visualization tool when it establishes patterns and relationships between and among different kinds of variables in an easy to understand manner. To help achieve this, a chart needs to embody a few key elements. We have listed these characteristics below. Read each of them and determine how you can apply each element into your own charts and reports if you have not yet done so.
- Typography: Charts are essential components of most formal documents and report templates. To make a chart stand out or be easily understood within a report, it should be created using clean typography.
- Chart Design: Just other kinds of design projects, charts can be treated as creative visual elements. To create a report chart that stands out, make sure that you choose a chart design that is relevant to the report or document you are writing. For example, if you are creating a health-related case study, any chart included in the document should match the tone and professional quality a case study requires.
- Layout: For a chart design to work, it needs to follow an organized layout. Charts will usually compare at least two variables. And by using an organized layout, visually differentiating and relating these two variables will be a lot easier.
- Brief Descriptions or Labels: Brief descriptions and labels are another important characteristics that should be found on any report chart design. To make a chart easily understandable, the variables or topics being compared within a report should be labeled correctly and concisely. Aim to use short descriptive words or phrases that will easily aid in understanding any concept.
- Explanation of the Chart: No matter how simple a chart design is, it is still important to include a few lines explaining what the chart means. This is an important element that anyone creating a report or document should not forget. Remember, charts only serve as information visualization tools. They do not replace the actual explanation of how that set of data was arrived at.
With these five elements in mind, you will be on your way into creating the best charts for your reports, documents, and write-ups. Supplement this knowledge with the different sample table chart templates that are also embedded in this article.
10+ Chart Templates
Shown below are 10+ chart templates that anyone may download and edit. These templates are also available in various file formats like PSD, INDD, AI, Word, or Pages. Make sure that you have a compatible word processing or compositing software program installed on your computer before downloading your chosen template.
Age Chart Template
Business Growth Chart Example
Gantt Chart of Daily Subjects Template
Blank Hair Chart Sample
Kids Chart Template Example
Sample Measurement Chart Template
Organizational Chart Format
Process Chart Template Design
Sales Excel Chart Template
Table-Chart Template Sample
Steps to Create an Excellent Chart Layout
Charts should serve one main purpose: To make a piece of data easier to understand. However, if you are having a hard time incorporating charts and other data visualization tools into your project today, fret not. Listed below are a few actionable tips that anyone may follow in order to create an excellent chart design.
1. Make it simple: The simpler your chart design is, the less likely will it confuse your readers. Use simple typography, layout, and design effects so that readers can focus on the most important part of the chart: The Data.
2. Choose complementary colors: Charts usually compare or present at least two variables or elements. And choosing the right color scheme can help a reader to correctly differentiate and generate causation or relationship between the two variables. A complementary color scheme is pleasing to the eye and allows the reader to focus on the data instead of other unimportant elements of the chart design.
3. Identify who will read and use the chart: When using any kind of data visualization tool, always remind yourself of who the target readers of the report or document are. This is important because you need to tailor-fit the chart design to your audience. To illustrate, if you are writing an internal ad sales report, you can get away with using company jargon on your chart labels. However, this method will not fly if you are creating ad sales report charts that will be read by prospective clients.
4. Choose the right chart type: The next tip is to use the right chart type. Choose the chart type that lets you showcase the best way to present the data or information. For example, if you want to emphasize the increase in your monthly sales, it may be best to use a line chart instead of a bubble chart.
5. Verify data: Also, do not forget to verify all the data sets you have obtained for your report, case study, document, or research. This tip should not be overlooked since data is the backbone of any good chart design. You may ask another person to review your research data. Or, depending on your organization’s policies, an external audit team may be required to evaluate the data sets before it can be plotted into report charts.
6. Label accordingly and add interpretation of the chart: Lastly, do not forget to add labels and descriptions for all the charts included in a report or document. Make sure that these labels are also correctly placed in either the x- or y-axes of any chart. Also, a text or written version of the chart you are creating is necessary since this validates the reader’s own interpretation of the chart.
Types of Charts
In this article, we focus on three main chart classifications. They are:
- Timeline Charts: These charts usually provide lists of micro-events that will occur during one main event or gathering.
- Seating Charts: Examples of which are wedding seating charts, table seating charts, etc.
On the other hand, charts may also be classified according to how data is visually presented. In this mode of classification, these are the different types of charts:
- Bar charts: This chart type allows two things to be compared using a difference in bar thickness.
- Pie charts: This chart type allows comparison of multiple variables by showing the percentages of each variable in a circular graph.
- Table charts: These charts are the simplest and easiest to make. Multiple variables or data sets can be listed down in tabular format and help give more meaning to them as a whole.
- Bubble charts: These charts are one of the few chart types that can compare up to three elements or variables in a three-dimensional visual presentation. The bubble size will depend on the value of the dataset being measured.
- Line charts: Line charts or line graphs allow comparison of up to two variables. They show the relationship in interconnected dots. This kind of chart is often used to represent the presence or absence of trends.
There is no standard chart size. Chart templates can be printed on any paper size and type. In this article, most of the pre-made printable templates that we have included may be printed on any A4 and US paper sizes.
What are chart templates?
A chart template is a pre-made digital file. It contains all the necessary data needed for formatting, styling, creating text boxes, and inserting image placeholders required to create a complete chart design. These templates are fully editable to suit the end user’s needs.
How to create chart templates?
Knowledge of different graphic design, compositing, and word processing software tools is needed in order to create chart templates. Most of these tools will have pre-made chart elements that can be combined in order to create a bigger chart template. Examples of these software tools are Microsoft Word, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and even Mac Pages.
What chart template file format to use?
Chart templates are available in various file formats from Excel, PSD, AI, INDD, or DOC. Choose a file format that you know how to use.
To get the most out of your work day, use any of the free and premium printable chart templates and edit them to your heart’s content. You will end up with an original-looking chart template that not only suits the report or document you are making but will help also increase brand recognizability.