Part 1: Visualising Analysis with Excel

Posted on 25 April 2012 by Mark Davies


Hi there ……… so you’re interested in analysis?

What’s your specialist subject? I’m guessing a sport – rugby, football or hockey perhaps?
But of course you could equally be in banking, property or perhaps in sales?
Either way I bet you will probably have a pile of data on your subject, so much so that you don’t know what to do with it.

What form is your data in? A pile of paper or perhaps spread sheets?
Either way, you probably have a bundle of it and your boss or coach is asking you to explain this, that or the other.

Where do you start? I bet you have found yourself in the position that there is so much information available to you that you don’t know where to begin, or perhaps you have a ‘gut feeling’ and need the data to support your theories?

Sorry I should have introduced myself. My name is Mark Davies and my analysis subjects are sport and property, but just like you I can turn my hand to most things.
I’ve been involved in property management for some ……… well let’s just say it’s been a long time, and sport for some 20 years. In those early days I pioneered an automated system for providing visual representations for the coaches, specialising in live data capture.
My visualisation tool of choice is Excel, mainly because it’s available on a Mac and a PC and is interchangeable. It’s also very powerful, more powerful than people realise.

I’ve been asked to post some thoughts over the coming weeks on the way I visualise data, which I hope you will find of interest. Excel is such a powerful tool that there are many ways in which we can achieve similar outputs, so the following is just one way – there will be many others.

So lets start at the beginning.


As we know people learn in different ways and therefore people need to visualise the data in differing ways. What’s their preference? Lengthy reports, data in tables, snappy graphs or video? Quite likely it will be a combination of all of these.
So before you start, consider the following: –

For the purpose of this exercise we will presume that we have sorted out the first two. The choice of graph output will obviously depend on the Excel version you have available to you – I’m currently running Excel 2011 on my Mac, which is compatible with Excel 2010 for MS Windows.

By the way I’m assuming that you are comfortable with using Excel and creating basic charts and have access to one of these versions.

Here are 2 of the example graphs we will be looking at.

Next week we will look at how to create this worked example.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Josh Bryan Says:

    Looking forward to the next parts so I can learn how to get the most out of my data. I think that data is only as powerful as how it gets used, and to make it easily understandable it needs to be visually powerful yet simple. Bring on Part 2!

  2. Jon Moore Says:

    Look forward to some shared communication in the private members lounge, this can only be good for the development of the applied application of the processes you mention

    Thanks for sharing this information


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