The DataHero Blog

Excel for iPad Charting Made Easy

May 2nd, 2014

You’ve likely heard that Microsoft recently released Excel for iPad. While the iPad version of Excel contains some upgrades for touch-centric iPads, it has some limitations as well.

Charting in Excel isn’t very easy or intuitive. You also cannot create pivot tables, plus you’re restricted to using OneDrive for cloud storage if you do use Excel for iPad, stranding users who store their data in any other cloud service. This post outlines the limitations and addresses the solutions for each.

The example dataset includes business transactions broken down into various categories. The goal of using this dataset is to determine which companies are contributing the most revenue in terms of transactions to a business. To start off that investigation, it makes sense to create a chart of transaction amounts by date and company. In order to create that graph, you would need to create a pivot table, that counts the number of times a certain company occurs within a column. However, Excel for iPad does not allow this. The data that would need to be pivoted is pictured below:

Without pivot tables, it’s very difficult to create the charts you need to move forward with your business. Other times, you don’t need a pivot table but you still need to chart other, more basic attributes to complete the job. For example, the chart below depicts transaction amount by date.

The chart is quite difficult to read, even using Excel’s recommended charts. The dates are obscured, any trends are difficult to decipher.

By now, you have seen some frustrations your business will run into with Excel for iPad. With DataHero, we’ve simplified analytics and made charting much easier. Let’s move on to how DataHero would handle this dataset, and how much easier charting and analysis would be. Start in DataHero and  integrate your OneDrive account and your data files are listed for you:

Then you will immediately see that DataHero created a number of suggested charts based on patterns in your specific data:

In order to create the chart from the example above, drag on a few attributes (Transaction Date, Amount and Company). DataHero will then suggest the appropriate type of chart for you based on unique algorithms, so you don’t even have to ask yourself how best to visualize that data. Finally,  DataHero automatically pivoted the data and you’re able to tell how each company contributed to your bottom line each month.

Change time groupings, sort and filter easily all from DataHero’s intuitive interface. See DataHero’s help pages for more information on these capabilities.

Recall from the introduction, Excel for iPad restricts your cloud storage to OneDrive. In DataHero however, once you’ve created the charts you need, simply export them to a PNG file and share them in email, PowerPoint or any cloud storage service.

Excel has many great analysis functions, but to fill in the gaps, connect your OneDrive account to DataHero and make your life easier, anywhere, anytime, on any device. Import data, get suggested charts, then pivot, filter and sort data really easily from any device. Using Excel and DataHero in tandem will ensure that you have up-to-date data, and beautiful charts all from your iPad.

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By Kelli Simpson

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