An area chart is a version of a line or column graph. It may be useful where you wish to emphasize volume of change. Area charts have a greater visual impact than a line chart, but the data you use will make a difference.
Area charts—the good, the bad, and the ugly
As shown above, an area chart is sometimes tricky to use. This may be one good reason to use transparency values in an area chart.
- Chart wizard > no y-grids. As the data overlaps, some of it is missing behind the first data series. This is not what you want. A better solution is Chart 2.
- Chart wizard > no y-grids > Object Properties > Area > 50% Transparency; Labels > Tile 55° . The transparency makes it easy to see the data hidden behind the first data series.
- Chart wizard > 3D > realistic > no y-grids > Object Properties > Area > 50% transparency. We also twisted the chart area around and gave the chart wall a picture of the sky. As you can see, the legend turns into labels on the z-axis. But overall, though it is visually more appealing, it is more difficult to see the point you are trying to make with the data.
Other ways of visualizing the same data series are represented by the stacked area chart or the percentage stacked area chart. The first does what it says, each number of each series is added to the others so that it shows an overall volume not a comparison of the data. The percentage stacked chart shows each value in the series as a part of the whole. For example in June all three values are added together and that number represents 100%. The individual values are a percentage of that. Many charts have varieties which have this option.
Stacked and percentage stacked area charts