Focusing In On Data
November 20, 2017

When telling a story with data, a presenter will have a few sets of data to show the audience and then only speak about a particular series or data point. Instead of just showing one chart on screen, let’s use the “focus chart” technique to zero in on what the presenter is focusing on in a few simple steps.  

Here we have a column chart in which the speaker is talking about TRP’s client distribution by generation. The whole talk centers around how prominent the baby boomer generation is. 

To drive the point home, instead of using the data as-is, as the speaker is talking, it would be nice to highlight only a couple data points. To do that, we will animate a second copy of this chart over the first and edit its appearance a bit. 

  1. First, to make sure I’m selecting the proper item, I’m going to show my selection pane which you can access from the HOME tab.  
  2. Copy and paste the chart. In the selection pane, I name the chart in front “focus chart” and then make sure that the other chart is immediately below it. (While this step isn’t necessary, I find it keeps me organized in the long run. )
  3. Next, with both the original and focus charts selected, I make sure to top- and left-align them so it looks like only one chart is on the slide.  
  4. To keep the type on the slide crisp and readable, in the focus chart, delete the title, legend, any data points, and axis labels. You may have to re-adjust your plot area. 

Now let’s recolor the data points to focus on the baby boomer columns.  

  1. Single click two times on a data point to select it and change the fill color to gray. Which gray is dependent on which template you’re using.  
  2. Make all of the data points gray except for the ones you’re focusing on. 
  3. Finally, animate the focus chart to fade in “on click” so that the speaker can control the timing of the focus

And there you go. A simple way to help the audience focus on what is most relevant.