Great Graphs in Excel

Offered LIVE May 13 - 16, 2024

Are your takeaway findings getting lost?

Bad graphs can slow down the viewer's comprehension... increase cognitive load... and fail to inform decision-making processes.

All You Need is Excel

You don't have to be a computer programmer or a graphic designer to be a great communicator.


What's Included

  • Live course. We'll meet live over Zoom on May 13-16, 2024, from 1-4:30 pm Eastern each day. That's a 2-day course, but delivered in half-day chunks.
  • 31+ Excel Templates to download and follow along with step-by-step instructions for making beginner, intermediate, and advanced graphs in Excel.
  • 7 Bonus Lessons on using symbol fonts and making GIFs.
  • 8 Hours of Case Studies from former students about visualizing rating scales, agree/disagree scales, and more.
  • 2 Guest Speakers to learn about Google Sheets and coding.
  • Office Hours throughout 2024 to talk about your projects.
  • Private Data Vizards Community for longer-term support.
  • Certificates of Completion to help you build your resume.
  • Examples from a variety of industries (evaluation, public health, education, youth development, philanthropy, juvenile justice, museums, and more).
  • Captions added to all recordings from live sessions.
  • Lifetime access to all the recordings and materials so you don't feel rushed.

Course Dates

By popular demand, this course is being delivered live (!).

Here's our schedule:

  • Monday, May 13, 2024 from 1 - 4:30 pm Eastern
  • Tuesday, May 14, 2024 from 1 - 4:30 pm Eastern
  • Wednesday, May 15, 2024 from 1 - 4:30 pm Eastern
  • Thursday, May 16, 2024 from 1 - 4:30 pm Eastern

I'll demonstrate a skill, and then you'll immediately practice it and ask questions as you get stuck. I'll demo, you'll practice. And so on.

We'll have 10 minute breaks every hour (i.e., learn from 1-1:50, then break from 1:50-2).

The last 30 minutes of each class is additional Q&A time (i.e., learn from 1 - 4, then Q&A from 4 - 4:30).



Overused Native Charts

You'll make and edit:

  • Pies
  • Donuts
  • Bars
  • Clustered Bars
  • Stacked Bars
  • Lines

Underused Native Charts

You'll make and edit:

  • Combo Charts
  • Overlapping Bars
  • Area
  • Slopes
  • Small Multiples Lines
  • Bumps
  • Scatters
  • Bubbles
  • Trees
  • Heat Maps
  • Sunbursts
  • Box and Whisker
  • Waterfall
  • Radar
  • Icons & Symbols

Non-Native Charts

This is where it gets fun! You'll make and edit:

  • Stream Graphs
  • Waffles
  • B’Arcs
  • Small Multiples Bars
  • Population Pyramids
  • Diverging Stacked Bars
  • Lollipops
  • Dots
  • Swarm
  • Tile Grid Maps
  • Sankey Diagrams


31+ Excel Templates

Download my 31+ Excel files with step-by-step instructions. During our live sessions, you'll follow along as we create each graph from start to finish. Afterwards, you can adjust the templates and use them for your own projects.


Bonus Lessons

You'll also learn:

  • How to Use Symbol Fonts (4 lessons; 40 minutes)
  • How to Create GIFs (3 lessons; 36 min)

Case Studies

Let's look at real-life case studies from your colleagues! In these lessons, you'll see me talking through (1) what they're already doing well and (2) quick wins.

Case studies include:

  • Ellen's Agree/Disagree Survey Data (42:43)
  • Cat's Grantmaking Data for her Foundation (22:00)
  • Soren's Report with Color-Coded Divider Pages (29:39)
  • Ellen's One-Page Infographic in PowerPoint (42.11)
  • Andrew's Slides, One-Pagers, and Technical Reports (39:52)
  • Judy's Rubrics and Rating Scales (69:57)
  • Kharaam's Deviation Bars and Arrows Comparing Different Sites (34:14)
  • Brainstorming about Sue's Data Strategy (44:09)
  • Fitting Maia's Small Multiples Bar Charts onto a Single Page (64:21)
  • Bringing Lisa's Survey Tables to Life with Color Scales or Data Bars (49:32)
  • Additional Case Studies from the 2021 Graduation Ceremony (56:22)

Guest Speakers

You'll learn from:

  • Ben Collins on Getting Started with Google Sheets (50 min)
  • Kate Strachnyi on 100 Days of Coding (60 min)

Office Hours

Want me to look at your own datasets? Come to Office Hours!

We meet almost every week for 60 minutes. Your tuition includes all the Office Hours held in 2024.

Here are some of the Excel topics that we've tackled together recently:

  • Creating Year-End Infographics
  • Dealing with #n/a Errors in Excel Formulas
  • Analyzing Qualitative Data in Excel (and Other Programs)
  • Using Forms to Make Data Collection Easier
  • Appending Tables
  • Vlookup/Xlookup on Messy Data
  • Stacked Bar Charts Showing Training Attendance
  • Scaled Data for Small n's (Just 10 People!)
  • Turning One Dense Slide into Two Side-by-Side Graphs
  • Font and Color Readability
  • Creating Sankey Diagrams (in SankeyMatic and from Excel Plug-Ins)
  • Designing Timelines in PowerPoint
  • Graphing Student Retention Over Time
  • Analyzing a Public Library's Dataset from Start to Finish


Additional Support

Private Data Vizards Community

Our LinkedIn group is a great place to connect with colleagues, post drafts, get feedback from each other.

Certificates of Completion

Wow your boss and boost your resume.


What Students Are Saying

9,700+ participants from around the globe have taken our online courses since 2018.

Here's how those researchers, evaluators, scientists, and professors are describing this course.

"Before the course, I presented numbers narrated by text...yawn. Now, I present numbers as a story with visuals, sometimes as simple as sparklines, which engages staff and invites their insights! The Great Graphs in Excel course helped me see and share what story our data is telling. This course is best for people who learn through interaction, not just watching videos and reading tutorials. Ann K Emery responds to students' questions and specific data scenarios, has us try the solutions real-time, and engages and encourages her students (probably the most impactful part of the course...) I especially appreciate her walking us through her thought process as she demonstrates the procedures she's developed. It's like having an officemate who's both a whiz and mentor, which helps make me a better analyst."

- Ellen Shepherd, Program analyst at a nonprofit

"This course helped me to see Excel as a flexible tool for a wide range of data management and analysis tasks... Much more than just tables and calculations!"

- Bob Coulter, Missouri Botanical Garden

"My trend is definitely upward in this course. I'm learning EVERYTHING about graphs and #dataviz. Even the first couple lessons taught me so much useful formatting information about Excel that are already saving me so much time and ensuring my #professionalbranding consistency. And I'm looking forward to making graphs and charts that can convey complex information in an effective way!"

- Sue Griffey, Founder, SueMentors

"Enrolling in courses at Depict Data Studio is one of the best professional developments I have ever made... After eight months with Ann, I was able to turn my blah capabilities statement into something I am happy to share! I could go on and on about the many design and data visualization lessons I’ve learned from Ann.

Instead, I’ll end by saying that books and blogs are excellent resources. I have several books and subscribed to many blogs. However, they do not compare to live and on-demand instruction of Depict Data Studio."

- Lillian Haley Ph.D., MSW, ChFC®, President and Owner, Haley Evaluation & Research Services (HERS)

"Through the Great Graphs: Excel How-To’s course, I learned more tips and tricks than I ever expected. But the most impactful, yet unexpected, outcome was joining a community and making connections with others that were also along their own journey of improving their graphs as a way of sharing messages and insights through data... Because of the varied backgrounds of those in the course, I was thinking about my work in a completely new and improved way.

I found a great benefit in this as there was so much knowledge to be shared, wherever we were along our data visualization or professional journey. As a new evaluator, learning what others found to be successful also helped me in thinking about what I could apply to my own work. The supportive community that was built goes beyond the technical skills we learned throughout the course, as I know I have a wider network to connect with for questions, feedback, and advice long after the course ended."

- Maddison Staszkiewicz, Evaluator

"Having attended Ann’s keynote address at the 2017 Southeastern Library Assessment conference, I learned a few quick tricks to transform a stock Excel graph to something better.

Once I moved into an assessment role full-time, I knew I would be writing more reports and wanted to up my game with Excel graphs and charts so I knew just where to go for help. Ann’s course in Great Graphs offered that and so much more.

When I had to write a summary of a laptop loan program survey, I transformed the plain, ordinary graphs to uncluttered, with clearly understandable graphs of the survey results.

Ann takes you beyond the basic Excel charts and graphs to learn how to make super cool waffle charts and icon arrays and adding spark lines and bars to a spreadsheet for quick visual analysis.

Two of my favorite tips were learning how to create new theme colors to input the color brand from my organization and using bold colors to highlight your point with the remaining graph in gray or lighter tones. I found this course to be very practical with beneficial tips to use immediately in my work and would recommend it to anyone desiring to up their game with charts and graphs for data visualization."

- Lee Ann Lannom, Assessment Librarian, Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries, Vanderbilt University

"The Great Graphs tutorials are exactly what I was looking for in learning data design techniques in Excel, especially using examples that makes sense in a nonprofit and philanthropic setting.

I like the short snippet format where I can quickly learn about a technique and then instantly apply it.

For instance, I was working on multiple data tables showing the number of services delivered and number of clients accessing housing services by quarter across multiple homeless services programs. Program leadership wanted a quick scan of the numbers by quarter for the entire fiscal year. They were used to looking at numbers this way.

I decided to add sparklines to the data tables so that program leadership can also quickly visualize the trend over time. I quickly reviewed the Great Graphs tutorial on sparklines and added trends to the data tables. I also learned other tips to create sparklines quicker and add other visual features such as high and low points in the data.

A data analyst I was working with on this project was amazed that this could be done in Excel. He was used to doing all his analysis in python or R, and wasn't too familiar with data design techniques in Excel.

Thank you, Ann, for creating these quick tutorials that anyone can follow, especially those in the nonprofit sector."

- Rocele Estanislao, Assessment & Evaluation Analyst, Kaiser Permanenete Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine


About the Instructor

Your Instructor

Ann K. Emery
Ann K. Emery

Ann K. Emery is an internationally-acclaimed speaker who equips organizations to get their data out of dusty spreadsheets and into real-world conversations.

Each year, she delivers over 100 keynotes, workshops, and webinars with the aim of equipping organizations to visualize data more effectively.

She has been invited to speak in 30 states and 11 countries; 9,000 people have enrolled in her online training academy; and she has consulted to 200 organizations, including the United Nations, Centers for Disease Control, and Harvard University.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree from George Mason University.

After traveling full-time as a digital nomad, Ann now resides in Florida along with her husband and five children.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is this course asynchronous, or live?
It's entirely live! You'll get Zoom links for our May 2024 course. Later, you'll also get Zoom links for our live Office Hours sessions. As an added bonus, there are asynchronous lessons, too. You'll get access to recorded lessons with guest speakers, case studies, and additional spreadsheet topics.
What if I can't make the live sessions?
We post the recordings to the course website immediately. We add auto-generated captions to the recordings, too.
Can I re-watch the class later?
Yes, and you'll get lifetime access to the recordings. "Lifetime" is a tricky word -- you'll get access for the lifetime of the course. As long as I'm offering Great Graphs in Excel, you'll get access to the recordings. I update the course every year or two, so you'll always get the latest and greatest version. In other words, the new 'n' improved course will replace the older course.
How long does it take to complete?
The course is the equivalent of a 2-day workshop (but broken into half-day segments). And, you'll be invited to 25+ hour-long Office Hours sessions throughout 2024. You *don't* need to complete 100% of the course to be successful. For example, you might choose to watch just some of the case studies that seem most relevant to your own workplace. The typical student attends some, but not all, of the live Office Hours sessions.
What level is this course? Beginner, intermediate, or advanced?
This training is best for people who regularly make native charts in Excel (e.g., bars, lines) and want to start making advanced graphs in Excel (small multiples, population pyramids, dot plots, etc.).
Are there any prerequisites?
This is a data visualization how-to training in Excel. It's *not* a data visualization best practices training. We suggest that you complete a half-day or full-day data visualization class first. You'll do best in this training if you're already familiar with 101-level skills, like customizing graphs for different audiences, choosing the right chart type, and selecting colors and fonts that are branded and accessible.
Which software program are we using?
Microsoft Excel. (Not Apple Numbers, not Google Sheets.) The instructor will be demonstrating skills on Microsoft 365 (the latest version of Excel). You can still participate if you have an older version of Excel.
What type of computer do I need?
You'll need a computer, not a tablet or a phone. Webcams and microphones/headsets suggested so you can participate in class and interact with fellow participants. PCs preferred, Macs okay.
A bunch of us want to register. How many people do we need to qualify for a group rate?
Groups of 2-24 people get 25% off. Groups of 25+ get 50% off. Please email [email protected] and let us know the staff members' names and email addresses. Then, our Operations Manager will send you a single invoice with your group rate applied. It'll be much faster for you than enrolling people one at at time.
The registration page is adding sales tax, but my organization is tax-exempt. What should I do?
You can either: (1) pay the sales tax, request a refund from the hosting company (Teachable) later, and get your refund in 4-6 weeks; or (2) email our team at [email protected] and we can send you an invoice through our accounting system without the sales tax.
Oh no! My boss is out of the office, so I'll miss the registration deadline.
Please email our team ASAP at [email protected]. We'll need to start processing your invoice by May 10th so that you can attend the live class on May 13th.
Will you offer this course again?
Probably, but not in 2024. In 2025, the structure might be different (might be offered as recordings, not live) and the tuition might be higher.
Can we hire you for a private workshop?
Yes, I'd love to provide a workshop just for your team, either virtually or in-person! Please note: My schedule fills 6-12 months in advance, and group rates for online courses will always be more cost-effective than private workshops.


This course is closed for enrollment.