Information Dashboards with MicroCharts
Posted by workerthread on May 28, 2007
A while ago I got hold of a book called Information Dashboard Design by Stephen Few. It’s a good read for anyone with an interest in how best to present information graphically. Stephen is not a big fan of many of the charting and dashboard products which seem to favour style over content. And his article on the Excel 2007 charting engine is not very complimentary.
The book makes many good points about clarity of presentation, and has lots of good and bad examples. Reading the book got me interested in Sparklines, simple word-sized graphics designed to show a lot of data in a small space. And from the web site I came across MicroCharts from Bonavista Systems. I’m very impressed with MicroCharts. It is a well thought out add-in that allows Excel users to create clean, professional looking dashboards. Andreas Flockermann, the founder of Bonavista Systems which developed MicroCharts is always very keen to speak to people who are using or trying the product and does a good job of posting examples on the web site.
I’ve just started to look at a beta of MicroCharts version 2 which supports the new Office 2007 Ribbon UI and also supports Microsoft Access, so you can include MicroCharts in your Access reports very quickly. There’s also a version for SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services. You can download an evaluation copy of MicroCharts here.
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