Tag Archives: informational graphics

Creating an interactive chart with Google Spreadsheets (video)

The software and the process for building a chart and embedding it into a website are no longer mysterious, complicated or expensive.

And you should be having your students use it.

The software is Google spreadsheets. The process is as simple as entering the data into the spreadsheet and creating a chart with a few simple clicks. Google spreadsheets give you an embed code that allows you to place the chart onto a web page. That chart is interactive.

And all this is free.

The video below shows you how to do it.


Building a graph with Google spreadsheets from Jim Stovall on Vimeo.

And here is the chart that was made in the video.

As you can see the chart is interactive. That is, when you roll your mouse over any part of it, the numbers pop up. (The embed code for this chart is included below the chart just so you can see what it looks like.)


<iframe src=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ai4E-j24LyDLdEFkd0VIb1NXZWw2VnQ1ZkQzQndFT2c&amp;single=true&amp;gid=1&amp;output=html&amp;widget=true” height=”400″ width=”600″ frameborder=”1″></iframe>

Graphics journalism: Advice for beginners

Students who are learning about charts and how to produce them should remember the following:

• Study charts that have been professionally produced by newspapers or news web sites. The Associated Press has a graphics department that produces many charts used by newspapers every day. Look closely at the way they are put together.
• Don’t try to put too much data in a chart. A line chart should not have more than three lines of data. A pie chart should not have more than six or seven sections at most.
• Use an explainer box to help the reader understand the chart. An explainer box is the text under the headline.

• Try to keep the idea of a chart – what you are attempting to show – as simple as possible.

Inforgraphics: A Journalist’s Guide

Infographics is the only book to provide descriptions and examples of the proper use of graphic forms to present information. It presents an in-depth and straightforward approach to explaining the use of information graphics, offering coverage of a form of communication that is as important as writing. This book examines the development of information graphics in modern journalism and takes an in-depth and analytical look at all the major graphic forms that journalists use. It categorizes graphics into charts, charts without numbers, maps, type-based graphics, and illustration-based graphics and discusses the sub-categories of each.

This book is designed to help students understand graphic forms and to use them effectively in communication activities.

Order the book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble.


  • Categorizes infographics into five general types: Chart-based, Maps, Charts without numbers, Type-based, and Illustration-based.
  • Provides particularly in-depth treatment of chart-based and type-based graphics. Discusses the uses of illustration for information purposes.
  • Examines some of the common practices that result in errors in information graphics and tells how to avoid them.
  • Carefully explains the do’s and don’t’s of creating effective information graphics.
  • Pedagogy includes case studies, chapter summaries, glossary, and more than 150 pictures, charts, and diagrams.

Table of contents

1.  Beyond the Paragraph.

Beyond the Words.

The Graphics Revolution.

Deadlines and the Graphic Journalist.

The Development of Infographics.

Developing an Award-Winning Graphic.

Disadvantages of Graphics.

Do Graphics Help the Reader?

2.  Principles of Graphic Presentation.

Design Principles.

Conventions of Graphics.

The Good Graphic: Tips From the Pros.

Toward the Good Graphic.

Categorizing Infographics.

3.  Chart-Based Graphics.

Representing Numerical Data.

Elements in a Chart.

Bar Charts.

Column Charts.

Line Charts.

The Tyranny of the Alphabet.

Pie Charts.

4.  Maps.

The Modern Map.

Locator Maps.

Data Maps.

Developing a Map File.

Explanatory Maps.

Getting Creative.

5.  Charts Without Numbers.

Process Charts.

Structure Charts.

Time Charts.

Building Charts.

6.  Type-Based Graphics.

Development of Type.

Anatomy of Type.

Type on the Page.

Using Type.

Type as a Graphic Device.

Attention-getting Type.

7.  Illustration-based Graphics.

Purpose of Illustration-based Graphics.

Creating Illustrations.

Profile of a Newspaper Illustrator.

Copyright: Swiping Ideas Without Breaking the Law.

Legal and Ethical Considerations.

8.  Errors and Inaccuracy.

Sources of Error.

Common Practices.

Avoiding Error.

9.  Making Graphics Work.

A General Approach to Developing Graphics.

Developing Graphics.

But My Newspaper is too Small to Have a Graphics Department.

Tips for the Small Newspaper That Wants to Get Into Graphics.