Making Tables and Charts
The purpose of this report is to encourage authors to develop and use more interesting and more understandable tables and charts. If there is a point to be made, a table or chart can help. Some guidelines and examples are offered here to help authors criticize and improve their own efforts. After a little study, it is easy to see that making a table or chart is not science. There is a lot of ART and EXPERIENCE involved. Most readers can find the central point of a good chart. If a table is poorly organized and cluttered with data, readers will likely pass it by. Clearly, good charts and tables make a difference. There is no standard that everyone accepts as to what is right and wrong, but there are some basic principles to follow. This report will try to illustrate some major points to consider and demonstrate differences between effective efforts and those which fall short. Putting together a table or a chart which makes a point will provide both you and others satisfaction. It will save a reader time. It can make a difference in your final report.
A.E. Ext. 87-17
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University