Part 2. MM4XL Tools > 3. Charts and Maps > Smart Mapping > Example of Sales Tendency Analysis

Smart Mapping

Example of Sales Tendency Analysis

Managers find it useful to look at sales tendencies over a given time frame, for instance, product category sales in the past three years. Picturing data in this way makes evident the sales trend characterizing each item, and this information proves useful when assigning targets or controlling performance.

MM4XL makes the Connecting Arrows function available with the Smart Mapping tool. This feature is very effective in highlighting item shifts over time because, as you can see in the chart, the arrows make clear the direction bubbles take. When working with graphics crowded with bubbles, arrows can make the interpretation much faster and easy to understand.

Bubble Maps Software for Scatter Plot and Circle Charts

The table here shows how to arrange data for placing arrows. Of course, the number of periods that can be connected with arrows is not limited to three as in this example, but it may vary according to your preference and need.

Bubble Maps Software for Scatter Plot and Circle Charts

Data labels relating to time (column B) are listed from last to first, so the arrow direction matches the time direction. In column E, we can see the grouping variable stays unaltered for all items in one group. As for our example, data in column C and D are used to plot item coordinates on the chart, and data in column F are used to enlarge bubble size.

On the Options tab of the tool form there are controls for setting arrow appearance and color, as well as the size of the labels displayed beside each item on the chart.

As the chart appears on the sheet you may want to change the appearance of some of its elements. When arrows are shown, to resize the plot area you need to use the Tab key for selecting the plot area and resize it.

If you simply click on the plot area with the mouse it won't stay selected. If, after you resize the plot area, arrows no longer match the bubble positions, click with the mouse once on the plot area and all arrows will be repositioned correctly in the middle of the bubble they refer to.

In order to make charts more readable and according to the number of items shown on chart, you may want to make some changes to the default chart produced with Smart Mapping. Click on it and drag the legend to a different position or double-click on it to open the Format Legend form that allows resizing the legend and change more of its look. Similarly, double-click on a chart axis to open the Format Axis form where you can change axis font size, colour, etc. Double-click on a bubble to open the Format Series form where you can change bubble size proportionally across all bubble (Options tab), bubble colour and more. Also, double-click on a chart axis and open the Format Axis form where you can change the minimum and maximum axis value and more.

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