Behind any graphs, charts and even flowcharts there is data, big data, usually stored in tables.
To keep data in tables is useful, but tables are not convenient for presentations or communication. All graphs are intended to make the presentation of data clearly and simply. But are tables always that bad?
In many cases, working with tables is familiar. We all use public transport schedules on a regular basis and understand it well.
Report Cards in schools and universities do their jobs perfectly adequately in a table format.
Wouldn’t you think that finding your mark on a chart would be more difficult?
Weather forecast is also easy to read in a table format.
What’s wrong with tables? Why do we try to avoid using them? If we don’t know the subject well, we come face-to-face with our problems immediately. It takes time to understand what each column means, which units are used and why? Once we have overcome the first steps, we are left with the question: what does it all mean? When it comes for weather, it’s clear that +30 is hot and +15 is cool. But if it’s a table of expenses, to note where we spent too much is not such an easy task.
But if we will put the table in order, it is much more informative and helpful than any chart. Let’s go back to Loan Amortization Schedule table.
Let’s polish our table. Any line-crossings are visually-complex elements. Even one cross can distract, and when there are dozens of them, we just can’t see anything else. Let’s get rid of the table lines:
To read the data quickly, we make some space between the columns:
With all this, we have limited the visibility of the least important information in our chart. We address to it seldom, so there is no need to make it prominently visible. This concludes the first steps in formatting a table.
The entire timeline is a bit less than two years. One typical mistake when using dates is that it is easy to include excessive information. Don’t indicate the year in each date. In many cases, showing just the month and day is enough.
All the other columns of tables indicate money.
Moreover, a specific currency: Dollars. So, there is no need to add the dollar sign at each table cell.
It is better to align sums by the right side to allow for easy numerical comparison:
Last touch — mark the sections with different colors numbers, highlighting the most relevant information in your chart:
Thus, we have all of our information in a legible easy-to-read format. An important difference between tables and schedules is their credibility. That’s why we have a greater confidence in their accuracy. Any column can be double-checked, because we have ALL the data in front of us.
Yes, graphics and charts are more eye-catching, but often they don’t have nearly as much real information as a chart of the raw data.
SIX RELATED HOW TO's:
ConceptDraw DIAGRAM extended with Mathematics solution from the Science and Education area is a powerful diagramming and vector drawing software that offers all needed tools for mathematical diagrams designing.
Mathematics solution provides 3 libraries with predesigned vector mathematics symbols and figures:
Solid Geometry Library, Plane Geometry Library and Trigonometric Functions Library.
Picture: Mathematics Symbols
Data base diagrams describes inter-related data and tables. It describes roles and relationships, internal and external dependencies, data exchange conventions and structures of knowledge domain.
ConceptDraw Software provides number of data-base chart libraries including major 49 vector symbols. Use these DFD flowchart symbol libraries to design data-base structure and models, use it to design data base process-oriented models, or simple data-oriented models. The are special drawing tools for making data flowcharts, data process diagrams, structured analysis diagrams, and information flow diagrams.
Picture: Database Flowchart Symbols
There are many tools to manage a process or to illustrate an algorithm or a workflow. Flowcharting is one of those tools. However, it may be difficult to show complex processes that require multiple attributes or several people in a simple flowchart, so a cross-functional flowchart would be a solution for that situation. To create such flowchart, group processes and steps to labeled rows or columns, and divide those groups with horizontal or vertical parallel lines. It is worth mentioning that there are different types of cross-functional flowcharts, like opportunity or deployment flowchart.
This diagram shows a cross-functional flowchart that was made for a trading process. It contains 14 processes, distributed through 5 lines depicting the participants who interact with the process. Also there are connectors that show the data flow of information between processes. The cross-functional flowchart displays a detailed model of the trading process, as well as all participants in the process and how they interact with each other. The lines in the flowchart indicates the position, department and role of the trading process participants.
Picture: Cross-Functional Flowchart
What is a Work Flow Chart? It is a chart which visually displays the step-by-step transferring of data, documents and tasks during the work. ConceptDraw DIAGRAM extended with Workflow Diagrams solution from the Business Processes area of ConceptDraw Solution Park is the best software for drawing the Work Flow Chart of any complexity.
Picture: Work Flow Chart
A flowchart is a simple but very functional tool when it comes to understanding a workflow or to removing unnecessary stages from a process. When drawing flowcharts, keep in mind that there are four common types of flowcharts, like document flowcharts and data flowcharts that show control over a data or document flow over a system. To show controls on a physical level, use system flowcharts. In addition, to show controls in a program, you can draw a program flowchart.
This flowchart diagram represents the piece of an article editing process, that involves the author and editor. It was created using the Basic Flowchart notation that consists from the basic flowchart symbols. The start and the end of the process are indicated with "Terminator" symbols. The "Process" symbols show the action steps consisting from making edits and searching for a compromise, when the author does not agree with the suggestions of the editor. The "Process" symbol is the general symbol in process flowcharts. The "Decision" symbol indicates a branching in the process flow. There are two branches indicated by a Decision shape in the current flowchart (Yes/No, Disagree/Agree). This basic flowchart can be used as a repeating unit in the workflow diagram describing the working process of some editorial office.
Picture: Types of Flowcharts