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How to use Excel’s “Quick Analysis” to visualize data

The official Microsoft Excel logo on a gray background

Creating a chart in Excel is neither easy nor intuitive for inexperienced users. Fortunately, there is a feature called Quick Analysis that allows you to create charts, tables and more with one click.

First, we create a graph to better understand our data. In this example, this is a table showing the types of drinks purchased in a fictional restaurant. To start, we select the cells we want to group by clicking and dragging.

select data

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

fast analysis

In the pop-up window, click “Format”. This is just one of many analysis types, but it’s a great one to start with for our fictional example.

formatting options

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

This option, Data Bars, turns each cell into a progress bar. The highest value in our table is the width of the cell, scaling each additional bar proportionally.

data bar chart

The next visualization, Color Scale, changes the color of each cell based on their value. Of course, this can 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 as required.

icon set

For our case, we are going to choose graphs. This will insert a graphical representation of our text-based data.

chart types

If you select Charts, you will see that there are a number of recommendations. You can choose the one that works best for you, but we’re going to click Stacked.

stacked chart

After the chart has been created, our data is now a graphical representation. We can resize it by dragging the corners.

resize the chart

Before we forget, let’s rename the file. To do that, just double click on the chart name and type one of your choice.

rename file

Although our map is almost perfect already, let’s change the color of coffee to match the color often associated with it: brown. To do that, we’ll right-click anywhere within that color area on the map to bring up some new options.

fill color

To choose your color, click on ‘Fill’ and then choose the desired swatch.

color palette

We could definitely stop here, but what if we wanted to know the total of every type of drink we sold this year? First we select the data again.

select all data

Then click on the Quick Analysis button. This time we choose the tab ‘Totals’ and then ‘Sum’.

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

chart and data

There are a number of ways you can use Excel’s Quick Analysis feature, but 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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