Visualize your data better: Conditional formatting and more!

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A chart makes it easy to see a trend over time or to compare how different figures stack up. To achieve a similar effect with plain tabular data is difficult, but not impossible! That’s what conditional formatting in Zoho Reports achieves.

Conditional Formatting of Tabular Data

You often see conditional formatting applied to financial data, where positive values are typically in green and negative values in red. A similar example below, where we show the best ‘CTR’s in green, the bad ones in red and the intermediate ones in yellow. You can apply color to the cell background and to the font (‘Clicks’ column in the below example).

Definitely easy to identify outliers and easy to comprehend, right? Zoho Reports now supports conditional formatting in base tables and query tables. We will be extending it to pivot and summary tables soon. You can access conditional formatting by right-clicking on a column.

Area and Stacked Area Charts

We have been continuously adding new chart types. The latest ones to come in are area and stacked area charts.

Try conditional formatting and area charts in Zoho Reports and let us know your feedback comments.

Tim Berners-Lee and Data-driven Journalism

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The Guardian has a good article which quotes Sir Tim Berners-Lee as saying, “Data-driven journalism is the future”. The article mentions recent stories like the Wikileaks logs and British MPs spending being brought under the scanner, all through extensive analysis of plentiful data. The article goes on to make the point of how future journalists need to develop capabilities for analyzing data. Can’t agree more. They need to take advantage of the choices that the web’s offering them too.

The charts and visualizations in print were limited because of their static nature. But over the web, data visualizations can take advantage of technologies like Flash and JavaScript and offer interactive graphics. The Guardian’s Data Store and The New York Times’ Visualization Lab come to mind. Not just the big publications, we are seeing even smaller newspapers starting to use interactive data sets for their readers. And there are blogs like FlowingData that are providing nice analyses/visualizations which the newspapers and journalists need to keep note of too.

Zoho Reports offers dynamic report embedding and it is good to see publications using it for their data centric new stories. Ventura County Star is one such newspaper using Zoho Reports. Below are some articles in the VC Star using interactive Zoho Reports embeds.

York Dispatch is another paper that is making full use of Zoho Reports’ embed functionality. A couple of examples,

If you are a blogger, journalist or a web publication interested in providing such stories with interactive reports for your readers, do try Zoho Reports. Write to us at and we will be glad to assist you.

Join the Data Visualization Contest and Win an iPod

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Chandoo writes a very interesting blog offering tips about how to make the best use of Microsoft Excel and to chart data in general. And he announced a data visualization contest
yesterday. Contestants have to map the sales data of a
fictional company using any software. The charts or dashboards created should
help a senior manager understand how the sales people have done in the
past 24 months. The winner gets an iPod Touch 8 GB. Cool, right?

Since Chandoo announced the contest is open for sponsors, we asked him if Zoho can be the sponsor. He immediately accepted. So, Zoho Reports is sponsoring this contest and we encourage all Zoho users and readers of this blog to participate in it.

Here’s the details about the contest. If you are comfortable
using spreadsheets, this should be easy for you. Try using Zoho Reports
for the task and see how different/easy the charting experience is when
compared to using Microsoft Excel. You can also try using our online
spreadsheet tool, Zoho Sheet.

Your comments welcome on how you charted the data, the approaches you followed, the software you used etc.