I started following (via my preferred RSS reader: Google Reader) a blog by John Peltier, of Peltier Technical Services, called PTS Charts and Things. I have been utterly fascinated by a few of his recent posts where he takes on the challenge of producing a chart of a particular form using the features built-in to Excel 2007.
These are not trivial tasks. Consider for example the Clustered Stacked Bar graph (see below). First off, it is a challenge, in and of itself, to create the clustering of stacked bar graphs, since there are clustered bar graphs in Excel and stacked bar graphs in Excel, but no combination of both. On top of that, labeling the axes correctly turns out to be particularly tricky. And yet, John Peltier walks you step by step through his process of developing the graph. I especially enjoy his presentation because it doesn't just walk through how to do it, but also through the entire trial and error process of getting the desired graph.
Another recent favorite post of mine was his presentation on the Stacked Area Chart Challenge:
He also posted a nice rundown of the Changes to Charting in Excel 2007. Since I personally love the new interface and features in Office 2007 and a colleague of mine at Wayland has expressed his dislike of the new Excel 2007, I enjoyed reading an outside opinion. I stand by my original position but understand a little more of the problems with the new user interface.
The PTS blog also pointed me to a new blog (see below) to which I just subscribed. I'll follow it for a while, but having already read the first few posts, I think it is going to be a keeper.