Archive for the ‘microsoft’ Category

Make Your Excel Area Charts Beautiful!

Excel is one of my favorite applications. So I was a little disappointed when Excel didn’t quite behave as I had expected when I created an Excel Area Chart.

Step One

Here is some sample data that I’ve loaded up in Excel to illustrate the point.

Step One

Step Two

Select the Chart Wizard and pick any of the Area Charts. For this example I’ve picked a 100% Stacked Area Chart.

Step Two

Step Three

We can see already from the preview that the Area Chart shows a “drop off” from 2007 to 2008. That’s not quite what I had expected.

Step Three

Step Four

Note the X-Axis setting – we’ll revisit this shortly.

Step Four

Step Five

We need to change the X-Axis to a date and insert a duplicate entry for the last bits of data.

Step Six

Step Six

By applying a custom format to the range of cells, we’ve changed the data back to the original four digit year. However, Excel clearly understands the data it’s working with.

Step 7

Step Seven

We now need to go back and edit some of the Chart Options. Notice in the screenshot below the duplicate entry is shown.

Step Eight

Step Eight

By changing the X-Axis to time-scale that ugly drop-off is removed.
Step Nine

Step Nine

Now admire the finished product – sans ugly drop off ūüôā

Step Ten

Virtual PC 2004/2007 vs VMWare

I¬†recently started using Virtual PC 2004 when MS released the Orcas CTP (the next version of Visual Studio) as a virtual machine.¬†For reasons I’ll go into at a later post, I needed access to an Ubuntu install to look at some technologies. Seemed¬†natural to try¬†installing Ubuntu on Virtual PC but I recalled a colleague at work trying to get Ubuntu working on Virtual PC without much success. I ran into the similar problems; the Ubuntu¬†install on¬†Virtual PC 2004 was an absolute dog. I checked for¬†a new¬†service pack on¬†my MSDN sub and saw that Virtual PC 2007 has now been released.¬†Installed and had a very similar look and feel.¬†Unsurprisingly, it was the same dog like performance during installation so much so that I decided to give VMWare a whirl. It was a breeze to get Ubuntu running.

I’m a little disappointed that neither incarnation of Virtual PC could get the job done.¬†¬†But,¬†what really ****** me off is that when I try to load up my official Orcas CTP, 2007¬†will not let me add it. Unless I’m missing something, it would appear that Virtual PC 2004 machines in a saved state don’t play nice with Virtual PC 2007. What is with that?

PS. Why is VMWare Fusion Mac only? -I appreciate they’re addressing the threat Parallels presents. But I’d like to see a similar product for Windows – yes I know I can run cygwin for linux tools, but it’s not the same thing.