Want to create a speedometer-like gauge for your PowerPoint or eLearning deck? I've found gauges a creative way to illustrate anything from progress through a course or presentation to positive to negative value scales. There are some relatively easy ways to build a gauge using shapes, but one of the fastest (and easily editable) ways I've found is to use Charts.
Here's what the finished product would look like:
And here's how you'd do it:
- In PowerPoint, insert a doughnut chart. (Insert > Illustrations > Chart > Doughnut > Doughnut > OK).
An Excel spreadsheet will appear, along with the chart on your PowerPoint slide.
- On the Excel spreadsheet, click in the cell that says Sales and change the title to whatever you would like. For my example I'm going to use Typos in 2012 Issues to demonstrate an acceptable versus unacceptable range of typos in one year for a publication.
For the purposes of this chart, we will not be using the labels which currently read 1st Qtr, 2nd Qtr, etc., so you can leave them as is, but we will be changing the numerical values.
- For my chart I want the total possible value of the gauge to be 100. I will only be using half of the doughnut so I'm going to set the total value to 200. The value for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Qtr should total 100. The value for the 4th Qtr will be 100. Add any three values for the first three quarters, as long as they total to 100. I will be using 60, 25, and 15. Once in the doughnut chart, this will visually give me a "good" area, an "okay" area, and a "bad" area.
If you use similar values, your chart should look something like this:
To get the horizontal orientation like in the finished example above, you will need to rotate the data.
- Select the doughnut so that resizing handles appear on all its sections.
- Right-click the doughnut and choose Format Data Series.
The Format Data Series dialog box will open.
- From the Series Options category, change the Angle of first slice to 270 and click Close.
- Right-click the solid bottom half of the doughnut chart and choose Format Data Point.
- From the Fill category, select No Fill and click Close.
The bottom half of the chart should "disappear."
- Right-click each of the remaining sections of the chart and change their fill color as you see fit.
- Select the Legend at the right of chart and press [delete] on your keyboard to remove it.
The chart will center under the title.
- Working on the same slide (but ensuring the doughnut chart is not selected), insert a Pie Chart. (Insert > Illustrations > Chart > Pie > Pie > OK)
- Once again, you will be working with a total value of 200. On the Excel spreadsheet, set the value for 1st Qtr to the value (out of a possible 100) you would like the needle of your gauge to rest. I want my needle to fall within the yellow area of the chart, so I am using 66. Set the value for 2nd Qtr to 1. This will be your actual gauge needle.
- In Excel, click in cell B4 to set the value for 3rd Qtr. In the fx field, type =200-(B2+B3) and press [enter] on your keyboard.
- Right-click the 5th row, (4th Qtr) and choose Delete.
- In PowerPoint, right-click the Pie chart and choose Format Data Series.
- From the Format Data Series dialog box, Series Options category, change the rotation to 270.
- Right-click the two larger areas of the pie chart and choose Format Data Point > Fill > No Fill.
Both sections will "disappear" leaving just your thin slice of the pie (your needle).
- Right-click the "needle," choose Format Data Point and change the fill to whatever you like. (I chose black.)
- Select the Legend at the right and delete it.
- Select the title of the Pie chart (not the Doughnut chart) and press [spacebar] on your keyboard to delete the title of the second chart. (It's important to type [spacebar] for the title instead of just deleting it to keep the alignment of both charts the same.)
- Select both charts and group them. (Home > Drawing > Arrange > Group)
Setting up this equation will allow you to set the first value to any number while automatically updating the third value to fit within the specified parameters.
Note: If you have a hard time selecting both charts, try holding down the [ctrl] key while you click each of them on the Selection Pane (Home > Drawing > Arrange > Selection Pane to view the Selection Pane).
The beauty of creating a gauge image this way versus drawing and grouping shapes is that you can change the value of the sections in the Doughnut chart as well as where the needle falls in a snap without having to re-do the whole graphic. Just ungroup the charts, type in new values in Excel, and shazam! Your graphic is instantly changed.
Using this same method I was able to quickly edit the charts into a speedometer by adjusting the values in Excel, adding text boxes with speed values and layering in a black circle behind the charts.
I'd love to see how you are using this method to create your own graphics. Send me your creations and I'll feature them in a future post.