How to use Excel’s “quick analysis” for visualizing data

Create a chart in Excel is neither easy nor intuitive for inexperienced users. Fortunately, there is a feature called Quick Analysis that can be used to create charts, tables, and more with just one click.

First, let’s create a chart to better understand our data. In this example, this is a table with drinks that are bought in a fictional restaurant. To start, let’s select the cells we want to group by clicking and dragging.

Then click on the small “Quick Analysis” icon. You can find it at the bottom right of the selected dates.

quick analysis

Click Format in the pop-up window. This is just one of many types of analysis, though it’s a great one for our fictional beginning example.

Formatting options

Hover your cursor over each option to preview it. Let’s take a closer look at data bars.

This option, data bars, turns each cell into a progress bar. The highest value in our table covers the width of the cell, with each additional bar scaled proportionally.

Data bar chart

The next visualization, color scale, changes the color of each cell according to its value. This can of course also be edited if you prefer a different color.

Color options

The Icon Set option displays an icon next to each cell. These can also be customized according to your needs.

Symbol set

We choose diagrams for our application. This will insert a graphical representation of our text-based data.

Chart types

When you select charts, you can see that there are a number of recommendations. You can choose the one that best suits your needs, but we will click Stacked.

stacked diagram

Once the graph has been created, our data is now a graph. We can change the size by dragging the corners.

Change chart size

Before we forget, let’s rename the file. To do this, simply double-click the diagram name and enter one of your choice.

Rename file

While our diagram is almost perfect as it is, let’s change the color of the coffee to match the color that is often associated with it: brown. To do this, we right-click anywhere within this color range on the diagram to reveal some new options.

Fill color

To choose your color, click the “Fill” button, then select the color swatch you want.

Color palette

We could certainly stop here, but what if we wanted to know the total number of each type of beverage we’ve sold this year? First we select the dates again.

select all dates

Then click the Quick Analysis button. This time we select the “Sums” tab and then “Sum”.

And now we’ve changed our visualization to show the total number of each type of beverage sold. Aside from our monthly totals, we now have the total of all 12 months for each type of beverage.

Chart and data

There are a number of ways that you can use it Excel’s Quick Analysis feature, although this should get you started. It’s definitely a feature that is best learned by experimenting with different types of visualizations.

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