Archive | April 2018

How to Configure the Native Chart Web Part in SharePoint

downloadThe chart web part in SharePoint makes it easy for users to create beautiful, interactive charts with different data sources. What’s more – it also allows users to make changes to data sources and see the changes reflected in the charts instantly, making the tool nothing short of a lifesaver during a boardroom presentation. That said, this add-on needs to be configured properly, before it can do its job. Here’s how to go about it.

Adding the chart web part

Before the web part can be used, it has to be inserted into the SharePoint page where the user wants to build and display the chart(s). This can be done using the Chart Web Part control, available under the category Business Data. Adding the web part makes two options available for further configuration:

  1. Data & Appearance Advanced Properties
  2. Connecting the chart to the data source

Under Data & Appearance, there is an option – Connect Chart to Data. Clicking on it opens up a wizard, which allows the chart web part to be connected to one of the following data sources:

  1. Another web part that can provide data
  2. A SharePoint list
  3. An Excel workbook
  4. External content type defined in BDC

Once a source is selected, the same wizard allows the user to connect the chart to the data source. After connecting, the user need to retrieve and filter the data before creating the chart. Data filtering can be done with an existing column used as parameter, or by hitting the + sign next to the Filter Data option and mentioning name, type and value of the selected parameter. Next, the user has the choice to configure the data series, set properties like the fields to be displayed on the X and Y axes, perform analysis on data such as adding a moving average to the data set, and so on.

Determining how the chart would look

To customize the look of the chart, the user needs to click on Appearance & Data and then on Customize Your Chart. Doing so brings up a 3 step wizard. First off, this wizard allows the user to choose the chart type. Once the chart type is chosen, the right hand panel shows a wide range of chart templates for the user to select the most ideal one. Then, the user can select the Chart Appearance Properties, which grants control over the drawing style, appearance theme, size, format, and even the transparency of the chart. Chart element properties, accessible once the appearance has been configured, lets the user define the chart legend, title, grids and axes, hyperlinks, tool tips, markers and labels.

Finally, it is time to fine tune the chart

Clicking on the Advanced Properties presents the user with plenty of options to improve the look and feel of the chart. Available choices include annotations, legends, titles, chart areas, series, toolbar, and even properties of the context menus. As the user chooses each element to configure, the changes show up in the chart area immediately.

This entry was posted on April 30, 2018.

11 Top PowerPoint Slide Design Tips

We have all attended presentations which have put us to sleep. It may not be just because the speaker has a monotonous voice. It may not be just that the subject matter is really dreary. No, it may be that the presentation materials are dull, boring, unreadable, too busy. You get my meaning.

But PowerPoint presentations don’t have to be this way. Follow these tips, and your presentations will come alive, stir interest, and keep your audience awake.

Keep it Simple

This is probably the most obvious tip, and surely the easiest to implement. No, it is not! Despite being told this all the time, we never seem to follow this golden rule. The easy steps are as follows:

· Do not make the slides unnecessarily complicated, busy or too full;

· Nothing on the slide should be unnecessary;

· Utilise white space;

· Do not add things which do not aid better understanding.

Think about Stock Templates

It is unusual for users to look at templates beyond those which come with the software. Accordingly, they are often over-used, and can be ugly and boring. Furthermore, a lack of consistency can be confusing to the audience.

Another easy solution: build your own from a clean template and maintain consistency throughout.

Limit Bullet Points

When we think about dull presentations, we often think of those with pages filled with bullet points. To avoid this, the easiest solution is to limit bullet points on a slide, and use a sequence of slides to build up your point.

Limit Text

Too much text requires your audience to concentrate on the slide rather than you. Use text for emphasis rather than regurgitating what you are saying.

Think about Transitions and Builds

Some animation can be appropriate, others are tedious, slow and smack of showing off! The best advice here, is to use judiciously.

Thinking Fonts

Utilise traditional typefaces, like Helvetica. Serif fonts can bleed together, reducing legibility. So use sans serif. Coupled with the use of an appropriate font, think about both font size (ie it must be large enough for the person at the back of the room to read it) and also using bold when using light text colours against a dark background. This enhances readability. On the same subject, you need to keep a high level of contrast between text and background. This is particularly important if the background is very varied. A bar of colour behind the text may alleviate any problems here.

Careful Colours

The good use of colours clearly improves the effectiveness of slides. Limit the amount of colours you use, and select those with care. They need to be in harmony with each other. The use of contrasting text colours aids in drawing attention to important points.

It is worth thinking about where the presentation will be taking place. Lit rooms benefit from light backgrounds with dark text, whereas the reverse is true for dark rooms.

Clarity with Charts

There is no doubt that the presentation of data is significantly improved through the use of charts and tables. However, presenters are often guilty of:

· Including too much detail;

· Providing insufficient detail;

· Using the wrong chart type.

Getting the first two right is difficult. However, it is easier to get a message across with less data, and highlighting the point you wish to make, and providing additional data in a handout, or supporting slide, than it is to be clear in a sea of data!

Different chart types serve different purposes:

· Pie charts – used to show percentages, limit the slices to 4 to 6 and contrast the most important slice either with colour, or by exploding it;

· Vertical bar charts – generally used to show changes in quantity over time. Again, limit the number of columns to between 4 and 8. To highlight point, use it as a chart title;

· Horizontal bar charts – used to compare quantities. Same comments as for vertical bar charts apply;

· Line charts – used to demonstrate trends. Again, use the headline to highlight the point you wish to reinforce.

In addition to graphical charts outlined above, there are numerous other sorts of chart/diagram which can be utilized, including circles, onion diagrams, Venn diagrams, spoke diagrams, matrices, waterfall charts, to name a few.

Tables show data in a way with less impact. If you wish to ‘hide’ data, this can be a way of doing so.

Ideal Images and Visuals

Too many images can be confusing, and look messy. Utilise a single image with simple or no text. The sensible use of visuals is critical as well. In addition to ensuring that you use high-quality graphics, they must enhance your message as well as aiding comprehension, retention and boosting impact. Think about whether the image is the focal or supporting aspect of the slide. Answering this question will allow you to address formatting options for each element.

Interest with video and audio

Videos and audio clips can help break up a presentation and illustrate points in a different manner from the presentation itself. They can also re-stimulate interest.

However, the use of inappropriate or unnecessary additions can have the opposite effect.

Slide Sorter

Having completed all the slides, it is worthwhile using slide sorter to look at the general layout, order and progression of the slides. It is here where things can catch your eye, allowing you to rethink the order, build up and content of your slide pack.


PowerPoint presentations do not have to be dull. They do not have to be dreary. They do not have to be monotonous. Adopt these tips, and your presentations will improve dramatically.


This entry was posted on April 26, 2018.

The Newest Movement in Information Management: No More File Share

Close your eyes, and take a moment to visualize this: ‘No more file shares’. What do you see? How does it feel? For me, first of all I feel this is the core of my being as an enterprise content management professional. Second, it makes so much sense, that I really can’t grasp that there are such a large amount of them still out there. I envision a world without file shares, instead using the right tools for collaboration, content sharing, management and archiving. These tools have been around for quite some time and have proven their existence.

We all know human beings are creatures of habit. Well, the greatest proof of that is that all organizations which I encountered during my time as a consultant, still have a large, if not the largest part of their content stored on the good old file shares. People working together on these shares have not changed since the first time they started using them. On the other hand, everything we store on file shares has changed. The variety, volume and velocity of content has taken a giant leap forward in the last decade. But in many organizations, all of those different and new file types are still stored on the file share for collaboration.

Of course, everybody wants to create a somewhat manageable situation for themselves. Adding metadata through twenty-something deep folder structures, defining naming conventions for files, adding version numbers in titles, etc. Still, we are all making a mess, still, we are creating duplicate upon duplicate upon duplicate. Still, we violate laws and regulations because we store sensitive content. Well, I think it is time for a change. I want to initiate the following movement here and now:

No more file shares!

Every day, there’s something going wrong with documents. Especially on file shares. This results in frustration, lost time and therefore costs. In addition to the risks to your business, there are also legal risks and the risks of violations of the laws and regulations.

I know every content & information management professional, knowledge manager, and content manager can feel this in their bones. They know using file shares undermines a good information strategy. So my mission from now on is to create a world without file shares for collaboration. A world where your content is properly managed, and as user you have all the benefits of the systems that have been created for this, such as great findability and productivity.

For now, are you as excited as I am? Yes? Then store business documents on a real ECM system. So that everyone can find them, or at least so that not anyone can delete documents. It’s up to you to weigh the risks against the cost of a real ECM system.


This entry was posted on April 23, 2018.