In this week's Office Challenge, test your accdb-format knowledge by quickly inhibiting the Date Picker and learn how some readers would improve a too-busy Excel chart.
You're getting calls about a database that was upgraded from mdb to accdb. Some of the users don't like the new Date Picker icon that appears next to some of the controls. By default, Access 2007 and 2010 display a Date Picker next to controls bound to a Date/Time field. Most people like the Date Picker because it eases the data entry burden a bit. A few users find them annoying. Inhibiting the Date Picker is easy — what do you tell these users to do?
Last week we asked...
How would you improve a too-busy Excel chart? A busy chart is worse than a boring one. The boring one might not excite you, but it'll make its point. When you try to share too much information, most of the information just gets lost.
Toadforce responded first and suggested labeling specific items rather than all of them or displaying summary data instead of details. Bboyd suggested moving less important data to separate charts. Ppg suggested charting grouped data instead of all the details. Dan suggested a visual trick using light-colored data points and overlaid summary values. Mark Matthews made a similar suggestion, combining stacked bars and data points.
These are all great suggestions — the key being to somehow reduce the charted data. Sometimes, it's reasonable to group or summarize details as many of you suggested. When it isn't, you can use Dan's or Mark's tricks to subtly display details.
Like you, I'd first look for a way to reduce the data by summarizing or grouping in some way. If that doesn't work, I would combine a number of items into one, if possible. For instance, I might combine the lowest-performing items into a single group.
When the legend's the problem, you can do one of two things:
- Delete the legend and create your own using text boxes that refer to the sheet (if you want a dynamic relationship). Or you can simply enter the appropriate descriptive text.
- Remove specific items from the legend. Just select the item in the legend and press [Delete].