Stacking Cubes Charts with Excel

posted Aug 29, 2013, 9:15 AM by roberto mensa   [ updated Aug 29, 2013, 9:18 AM ]
Elizabeth:
Penny for your thoughts.
Monster: Mmm.
Elizabeth: You're incorrigible. Aren't you?
Monster: Mmm.
Elizabeth: You little zipper neck.
Monster: Mmm.
Elizabeth: All right, seven has always been my lucky number. Come over here you hot monster
[...]

by The FrankensTeam

The idea ...
10 stacking cubes made from sturdy cardboard, develops sorting skills are ideal for babies just learning to stack towers, and of course knock it down!
Of course the ordering turns out to be a very easy task, the game is suitable for ages 12 months+
Ok ... my cubes (Igo...r's cubes :-) have endured my three mischievous kids ... only one has been lost, but the remaining 9 were useful in preparing the images below :-)


So, playing with kids gave the idea of this chart.
Recently in Stacked and separated dynamic Excel charts post we talked about the stacked column charts and shown you that these graphs have weaknesses. It is difficult to compare the same value of the various bars. But there is another weak point: also difficult to compare the values of the same bar.
The picture below represents the numbers from 1 to 9 arranged in three groups - your challenge is to rebuild the table.
This is what we think will facilitate the task:
Maybe it will be equally difficult to reconstruct the table ... but now it is much easier to compare, for example, the second with the third value in the first or in the third column.
Using squares instead of stacked column, the comparison is easier, because we can see two dimensions. The risk is that the height of the stacks gives false impression about the total ... for this reason we have added a red series in which the base is kept constant as in a normal column chart.
Now we can show the table and groups to go into more detail with the visual analysis of its values.

As in the case of Stacked column charts here we have tried to solve the problem of comparing the same value in different columns ... but in this case we did more ... we have added a third
types of "stacks" ... bar display!
Below you can see the outline of what you can do:


We think these charts could be helpful in business data visualization. Imagine the sales of multiple sellers in the quarters ... you can be interested in a vendor, the best seller, but also can have a look at a quarter or best quarter ... all this (not the values but the proportions) is easy to see on the stacked square chart.

In the combined file you can choose which version would you like to see: matrix, row and column. Columns could start from bottom or top - in this latest case we can name it “antigravity tower”. :-)

We have prepared several files ... There are 3 lighter versions with only one type of chart (column, bar or matrix) and 2 more complex versions where you can choose the type of display via a drop-down list:

Stacking Cubes Column Charts
Stacking Cubes Bar Charts
Stacking Cubes Matrix Charts
Stacking Cubes Combined Charts
Stacking Cubes Combined Charts ("antigravity tower")

Note: All files are dynamic, you can add new data (both new columns and new lines) ... you may need to change the labels by adding reference to the cell.