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How to make a good graphs


I was requested to make a thread about teaching how to make good graphs.
Honestly, when I started making the weekly graphs in the Media Create threads, I didn’t have experience and much idea about what tools to use or how to make them, it was a try error experience. That means that even if you are not familiar with them, with small tips and trying, you’ll be able to make graphs in a matter of time, and maybe even better than the ones I do.

Making graphs is not difficult, it’s very easy if you have the data you need to make it. The tedious part might be precisely, to collect that data. It can take you plenty of time depending on the game, the period, or how much data do you want. You know that Chris provides an Excel in the opening of every Media Create thread, with past Famitsu and Media Create data until 2016. Additionally you also have sites as Game Data Library or the weekly threads in this or pasts forums. Check them all when you are free.

Then, you only need to put the weekly data in a sheet of Excel. There are other programs as well, but this is easy and widely available.

In each column you have to fill the weekly data needed for make the graph.
We’ll use as an example Switch hardware sales of 2018 and 2019 to show what steps do you need to make a graph.
In the next picture you can see the hardware sales for each week of 2018 in column B, and hardware sales of 2019 are in column D.


We also need the accumulated weekly sales for making the graph. In order to make it smoothy, there is an easy formula for that (=cell1+cell2). We’ll use column, C for accumulated 2018 and column E for accumulated 2019. You can see it in the previous picture. In the first line, the accumulated number will be the same as the first week, after that we need to use the formula. In this case is =C3+B4. You only need to type = and click one cell, then type + and the other cell and enter.
The program will calculate the sum for you.
To extend the sum formula to the rest of the column, you need to select the cell with the formula done, click in the little square in the right down side, and hold it while scrolling down. The formula will work in the cells you selected, calculating all automatically. Finally we have all the data gathered.

Next step is making the graph. Select the column you want for the graph. In this case the accumulated sales of 2018, that is column C. After selecting the first column, press control while selecting the other one (E), so you will keep both columns. Follow the same patern if you have more columns to add. Then you need to press the insert botton up in the tools, and the graph symbol shown in the next picture to make the graph. Check the next picture for this steps. I’m sorry that for language is set in japanese, but should be understandable.


With this the graph will be done. Now you can change the graph model, there are different options in the upper side, choose the one you like.
You can add a title to the graph, and also adjust the colors of the lines. To do so, double click one of them, and open the option window. Over there you have different options, not just for the color, but also, wide, line type, etc.
It’s possible you need to change the scale of the graph too. You can change it if you double click the y axis numbers (vertical). We’ll talk about this matter next.

The graph needs to be in a proper scale to be read. In the previous case there should’t be a problem because the numbers that we are comparing are close to each other.
But let me show and example with the annual sales of Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

In the Media Create threads I’ve shared the following graph, with the weekly sales:


Do you notice that the game released in 2018, but I didn’t put this year in the graph? If you’re asking why, the reason is easy. Take a look how it looks the graphs if I include 2018 sales (silver line):


2018 sales were huge, due to the launch week and the following weeks of Christmas. That makes the whole scale of the graphs to go up to 1.300.000 units (compared to 150.000 units of the previous graph).
Using that scale, it makes the graph almost impossible to read (specially year 2019, 2020 and 2021). That’s the reason why I decided to ignore year 2018 and start straight with year 2019.

Keep in mind this when you are making the graphs. If you make it too big, or too long, it might not look well at the end.
The same goes about the number of lines. Try to not compare too many things, if there are 10 lines, the graphs will be difficult to read. I recommend 6 or 7 maximum.

I think that’s more or less all you need to know (for now).
Let me know if you have some questions, or even other people can comment and say its own advise.
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