Q – I am a new user of Mekko Graphics, and I am finding that I need to spend a lot of time modifying the format to make the charts look good. For example, I am always changing color to multicolor (and then changing colors from the defaults), removing smaller series that I don’t need (i.e. <1%), changing my Y axis to vertical, giving myself more room for my data columns and CAGRs, and changing the font and font size. I wonder if there are any faster chart editing tips you can provide? Can I change defaults or set up some rules in the software?
A – Absolutely, there are several tricks you can do to make it faster to create your charts. Here are some ideas:
- Use our Preference Manager (located on the Mekko Graphics tab in PowerPoint) to change your default charts to Multicolor. The Preference Manager also allows you to create multiple palettes and define any one of those as your default, so you do not need to continuously change segment colors in Mekko Graphics. You can then choose to display any palettes from your Preference Manager in your Color dropdown menu in Mekko Graphics. The Preference Manager also allows you to set defaults, such as creating charts with a vertical Y axis orientation, and setting your margin position defaults. Margin position defaults are helpful, for example, if you know you always use legends or CAGRs in your charts, and would like more space dedicated to the right side of your chart for their display. In this case, you might wish to decrease the default right margin position, to provide a bit more space for legend and CAGR placement.
- You can create an “Other Series” from the Format Series dialog. An “other” series designates data from combined sources (e.g. companies representing <1% of product line sales). By identifying the “other” grouping, Mekko Graphics will automatically place the “other” segment(s) at the top or bottom of each bar. This will not affect your spreadsheet, just the chart appearance.
- If you have a preferred view (i.e. Show Series and Value), consider copying a chart from one slide and pasting it onto another. You can then open the old chart and replace it with new data. This will keep your old settings for Show Series and Value and Show as %. If some labels are not updated, you can Restore All Labels and then set them to the correct size.
- If you want to make all your labels the same font size, Ctrl-A selects all labels and you can then right-click and set all selected labels to one font size. Or perhaps you wish to make all of your bar labels slanted; hold down your mouse and drag to “lasso” the labels to which you want to apply the slant attribute, right-click the selected labels, and choose the slanted orientation.