24 Conditional Formatting Visuals in Microsoft Excel that Should Be Retired

“You should go work at Microsoft and fix Excel’s terrible formatting.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from workshop participants. Bill Gates, are you reading this?? Microsoft Excel is lonnnnng overdue for some updates. Don’t get me wrong—it’s still my favorite program. With 750 million users worldwide, I won’t be switching to anything else. It’s used by every business professional I know for at least part of their workflow. I’m getting tired of making excuses for Microsoft. Here are 24 conditional formatting visuals that should be retired ASAP because they’re ableist, time-consuming to read, or look like they’re from 1995.
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How Drawing Makes Us Better at Data Visualization

Feb 23rd, 2021 / Data Visualization
“Which software program is best for data visualization???” This is one of the most common questions about getting started with graphs, charts, and diagrams. There are plenty of great software programs, like Excel and Tableau—and even PowerPoint! There’s also a lesser-known secret to creating strong data visualizations: hand-drawn sketches.
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Getting Started with Sketchnoting: A Conversation with Emily Mills

Jan 5th, 2021 / Data Visualization
I recently had the chance to talk with Emily Mills, who is a professional illustrator and expert in sketchnoting. Emily was a guest speaker in our Report Redesign course. She walked us through the basics of sketchnoting, her career, why hand drawn images stop the scroll, the cool brain science behind sketchnoting, and then led us through some drawing exercises.
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Women in Data

Dec 1st, 2020 / Data Visualization
In September, I was invited to speak at a Women in Data panel alongside Rebeca Pop. Women in Data is an international non-profit organization started in 2015 whose mission is to bring women together for career advancement and an opportunity to uplift one another. We talked about our start in data visualization, how to approach data viz problems, data integrity and ethics, how get started (and stand out) in the data viz world and what we see coming in the future for the data viz world.
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Designing Visual Appendices for Your Next Report—In Under an Hour

Nov 10th, 2020 / Data Visualization
A couple years ago, I worked on a report that summarized survey responses from both universities and their students. Even with hundreds of survey responses and dozens of survey questions, we kept the report’s body to just six pages! How’d we choose which findings to include in the report’s main body?! That can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s much easier to pare down our report’s content when we’ve got appendices to back us up. I’ll walk you through what can – and should- be put into appendices and introduce you to the better version… visual appendices.
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Listening to What Data Users *Say* They Need… but Giving Them What They *Actually* Need

Oct 27th, 2020 / Data Visualization
I recently had the chance to talk with Zach Bowders on his podcast, Data + Love. Zach is a data analyst, a Tableau Public Ambassador, and passionate about data visualization and data storytelling. We talked about how to distinguish between IT and data professionals, how to narrow what users *actually* need, understanding your audience and how to speak up when data isn’t useful.
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