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How to Illustrate Data in Financial PowerPoint Presentations

We previously covered tips for designing financial PowerPoint presentations. We mentioned then that you should take the time to curate the data you have on hand, and choose only the ones that will help move your story forward. At the same time, you can’t just present this data as it is. Majority of the population are inclined towards visual learning, and chances are, your audience members are, too.

Make use of visual tools to enhance your presentation. Present the data in your financial PowerPoint through charts, graphs, and other illustrations. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses suited for the type of data you’re presenting.

Choosing how you’ll present the information will depend on its complexity and what it represents. In this post, we’ve come up with a guide explaining the basic ways you can showcase data in your slides.

Here are a few tips on the types of visual data you can use to spice up your slides:


For a financial PowerPoint, graphs are best used to show trends and patterns in your data. It’s a great way to illustrate how your market performance has improved throughout time or how the sales of products under your brand compare with each other. There are two common types of bar graphs:

Line Graph

  • Line graphs: Use this type of graph for illustrating changes in your data throughout time, like growth or decline in finances.

Vertical Bar Graph Horizontal Bar Graph

  • Bar graphs: Bar graphs are perfect for showing comparisons in the data. Make use of vertical bar graphs if you’re comparing less than 8 different sets of data. Otherwise, go with a horizontal bar graph. This helps compress the information without making it look confusing.

Pie Charts

Pie Chart

Make use of pie charts if you’d like to illustrate how different numbers correspond to a whole. For example, a pie chart can easily show how your finances are distributed. There are variations of the pie chart, like the donut, or wheel. While this also has a similar function to the pie chart, it’s a matter of preference what you feel would be more effective in conveying your points.


Sample Flowchart
Image from Wikimedia Commons

You can use a flowchart to explain how your data was gathered, or any other important process that is pertinent to your financial PowerPoint presentation. A flowchart visualizes steps or procedures through a progression of shapes.

Other Illustrations

There are other types of diagrams you can make use of in visualizing your data. This abundance of types can be narrowed to two of the more common kinds:

Venn Diagram

  • Venn diagrams: Used to showcase the relationship between different sets of data.

Sample SlideGenius design with map

  • Maps: If you want to show data that corresponds to a specific location. This is great for illustrating statistics gathered from market surveys and the like.
Data is definitely an important element of financial PowerPoint presentations. When translating numbers into illustrations, take note of these pointers and consider the rules of presentation design.



Present your data in a doughnut chart.” Office Blogs. Accessed June 20, 2014.

3 PowerPoint Techniques: Making Your Ideas PowerPoint-Friendly

PowerPoint slides can help make complex ideas easier to explain. They also allow your audience to grasp everything you say without much difficulty. Keep in mind, though, that you need to employ the right techniques to ensure the success of your presentation. To help you out, check out these common PowerPoint techniques that professional presenters use:

Bullets Instead of Paragraphs

Long paragraphs can make a slide look crowded and confusing. Often, the reason a presenter puts entire blocks of paragraphs on every slide is because he’s too lazy to sort out his main points. Or he intends to read the whole thing in front of his audience.

These shortcuts, however, will create the impression that you are not prepared and worse, unprofessional. As a result, no one will take your presentation seriously. To avoid this scenario, you may want to use bullet points instead of paragraphs.

Here are some important things to remember when using bullet points:

  • They’re short outlines of key points.
  • Leave room for you to expound.
  • Use as few words as possible.

Turn Numerical Data into Graphs

Slides that contain a lot of numbers can be strenuous to look at. As a workaround, some presenters would use a laser pointer to draw attention to the important figures on the slide. However, some people can get easily distracted by it. This may cause you to lose not only your audience’s interest, but also their patience. Presenting numerical data using graphs or charts would be a better solution of compressing data while drawing attention.

To determine the type of graph to use, figure out what your data is all about. Is it showing a trend? Then you may use a horizontal, dotted line graph. This is great for illustrating trends and changes over a certain period of time. Are you making a comparison between two sets of data? Then a bar graph would be handy in this case.

Any data is best illustrated with graphs. Make sure to choose the right type of graph type to help make your message clearer to your audience.

Describe With Images

If you are going to describe things, places, or even people, think about using images instead of texts. With the right photo or graphics, you’ll be able to cut to your audience’s emotions. It will get them engaged in the presentation better than what texts can do.

There you have it. Making your next PowerPoint presentation interesting would be much easier with these three techniques. If you want to make your slides even more powerful but you don’t have the time or expertise, getting the services of PowerPoint specialists would be a great idea.



Nordquist, Richard. “How Long Should a Paragraph Be? Accessed May 7, 2014.
The Art of Graphs and Charts.SlideGenius. April 21, 2014. Accessed May 7, 2014.

The Art of Graphs and Charts

When presenting information in a meeting, a picture does paint a thousand words. You can talk about numbers and percentages until you are blue in the face yet not everyone will get what you’re saying. It’s as if you were speaking an alien language. However, once you start putting up a chart or graph, suddenly all your ramblings make sense. It’s like manna from heaven.

Apart from letting your audience understand what you’re trying to communicate, graphs can make it easier for you to explain what you have to say. Keep in mind, though, that you are only as good as your tools. So here are some ways you can use graph and charts effectively:

Choose the right type of graph/chart to use

First off, you have to understand that there are different types of graphs and charts. You can use any of them according to the information that you are presenting. The circle graph (or pie chart), for one, is commonly used to divide data into separate sections.

The bar graph (or bar chart), on the other hand, displays either horizontal or vertical rectangular bars that have lengths corresponding to the values they represent. Another type is the area or line chart, which shows a number of data points interconnected by a line.

Different chart types are suited for different purposes. Line charts, for example, are great for plotting relationships while pie charts are the best types for communicating proportion.  Selecting the right graph can make a difference in getting your message across.

Mind the design details

After selecting the right type of graph, think about the design and how it can enhance your presentation. Every design detail must support your points and not detract from the information. Your chart should be focused on the data with your axes being labeled properly. Keep in mind that your goal is to have your audience pick up the data you are trying to share with as little effort as possible.

graphs and charts


Be creative

You are free to modify your graph or chart any way you want, as long as it won’t look messy, distracting, and incoherent. If you don’t feel like using labels, why not use custom icons instead? Another interesting way of creating charts is by using a photo of real objects in place of illustrated ones. For instance, imagine using the picture of an actual pie for your pie chart.

If you are a little conservative about the design, there are still some ways to make your graphs stand out. For example, you may think about using different textures in place of solid colors. Wood, for example, would look great for bar graphs. You can also make your chart look three-dimensional by giving it some depth.

For maximum impact, create your graphs using high-end design software such as Adobe Illustrator. Apart from making your presentation look great and comprehensible, it also offers flexibility and excellent usability. With Illustrator, you can create that 3D effect and manipulate the chart pieces with ease.



4 Rules for Boosting Your Creativity.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 12, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2014.
Graphs and Charts.” Skills You Need. Accessed April 21, 2014.