As far as I can recall, it has been many many years since a new chart type of significance has found its way into an Excel update. However for the 2016 release we’re getting some new treats, as seen in this presentation from Scott Ruble.
Several of those chart types are versions of what could already be done in previous versions.
- Histograms are just a special form of column chart, and were/are possible to dynamically calculate using the =FREQUENCY formula plus some array calculation magic. There is also a special tool in the Excel analysis toolpak addin, although this remains disappointingly non-dynamic.
- Paretos are a combination of a line chart and a column chart, if your data was in the right format.
- Waterfalls again are special case of column chart and getting your data into a certain format
- Even box and whiskers were possible if you had the time and inclination.
However, few of us did have the time or inclination, so moving these to a one-press-ish method is to be welcomed.
Treemaps and sunbursts are new to Excel to my knowledge (outside of various purchasable addins). I’m not sure they will, or should, become the most used charts in the toolbox, but including them makes Excel a little more competitive with its data visualisation peers on paper.
Early days yet, but from the demo video there doesn’t seem to be any amazing changes to the workflow involved in building an Excel chart. I suspect the likes of Tableau will therefore still be a more pleasurable and faster experience to use for the serious analyst in a hurry.
But anything that makes invaluable visualisations like histograms and box-plots easier to produce on the software most companies install on most computers is a big positive. I look forward to giving it a go. Perhaps it will even tempt some business managers to learn what a box-plot is.