Pavan Srinath, my colleague at the Takshashila Institution, referred to me this excellent tutorial on charting in Excel. It’s been a while since I made too many charts in Excel, since I find the defaults rather irritating and manipulation rather difficult. I make most of my charts using R. I like the command line interface. I like the fact that I have full control over my charts and that I can customize it the way I want (and with a dozen characters of code make it look like a chart from The Economist or The Wall Street Journal).
However, I realize R is a specialized tool and not everyone will want to use it. Hence, at least for the purpose of teaching visualization, I need to learn to chart on Excel. The link above is excellent, and has some good tips on visualization also (for example – on not using 3D charts and not using multiple Y axes). I’m not including any excerpt here since I think anything less than the full post will not do justice to it.