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Do make sure that any tips and suggestions work as you expect them to in your own particular circumstances.


Search other Office resources (AccountingWeb, Beancounters Guide, IT Counts):


Google docs spreadsheet - motion charts gadget


Excel charts are very flexible and capable of many things, but they are static. If you are trying to explain complex data changing over time, then it could be useful using time itself as one of the dimensions. There is a famous example where the statistician Hans Rosling shows the last two hundred years of global development as a bubble chart of life expectancy and per capita income: 

Although Google speadsheets still lack a lot of the more sophisticated features that Excel users are used to, the use of 'gadgets' extends the functionality of the Google product beyond what Excel is capable of in some areas. In this example we have used the 'Motion charts' gadget to take some spreadsheet data and display it as an animated bubble chart. We have published the result as shown below. Feel free to experiment! Try setting the 'Colour' to 'Unique colours' and the 'Size' to 'Brazil'. Also, try hovering the mouse over one of the salesperson names while the animation is playing, or selecting a couple of salespersons.

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