A graph or graphic representation is a type of representation of data, usually numerical, using graphic resources (lines, vectors, surfaces or symbols), so that the mathematical relationship or statistical correlation between them is visually manifested.
There are two ways to include charts in our documents:
- Using the graphic creation tool of our word processor (such as Word) or,
- By inserting the graphic image created in any other application (such as Excel or SPSS).
Because charts are visual elements, we must take into account a series of considerations such as the use of color or the description thereof, so that they are accessible by as many people as possible.
The charts that we insert in our documents should be simple, without abusing complex groupings or a large amount of data. If this is the case, it is recommended to divide large charts into smaller ones. In addition, it is not recommended to use several charts within a single image since the resulting descriptions will be more complex and confusing for users who have vision problems.
Insert a chart in Word
To insert a chart in Word we will follow these steps:
- Select the Insert tab.
- Now we select Chart .
- In the new window that appears, the types of charts that we can select to use in our document are shown.
- Once selected the type of chart that we want to use, click on OK.
- An Excel window will appear in which we can modify the data of our chart.
- Once the data has been entered, we can close the Excel window to continue with our document.
As we have seen in the previous section, the charts are images. Although Word charts are interactive and allow us to know data by placing the mouse pointer over the parts of the chart or legends, these elements are not accessible to people who use a screen reader, such as blind people. So, we must describe the data that is shown in the charts.
Alternative text in charts
We must include a description in the charts of our documents. This description, as we explained in the section on images and non-textual elements , should describe the content of the chart. Just imagine that you are describing the chart to another person by phone.
If we had a pie-type chart with the distribution of students by gender, the alternative text would be the data. That is: 37% of men and 67% of women .
To include the alternative text to a Chart in Word, we will follow these steps:
If it is an interactive chart:
- We select the graphic element and click with the right mouse button.
- We select the Format chart area ...
- In the panel that appears, click on Layout and properties.
- Finally, in the Alternative text section we include the text in the description box
If the graph is in image format:
- Click on the right mouse button on the picture and select Format picture.
- The Picture Format panel will appear, click on the Layout and properties .
- Finally, click on Alternative Text and fill in the Description section. Design menu and picture properties
In cases where we have included a very extensive description, it is advisable to enter a short description in the Title field.
As we saw in the section of Tables and pictures captions , it is advisable to include a simple and descriptive title with the purpose of a chart. To include chart title in Word we follow these steps:
- We press with the right button on the chart.
- We chose the option Insert caption.
- In the window that appears, we select as Label the illustration option: and we will write the title that we want to give to our element.
- Finally, we select the position of the title with respect to the element, being advisable to put the title below the selected item.
- We finish by clicking on OK.
In interactive charts inserted from Word, we must enter the chart’s caption in the corresponding legend. It is the only field of the chart that is accessible to people who use a screen reader since the other legends or charts shapes are not accessible.
When working with charts we should not transmit information only through color, since there are people who have difficulty distinguishing colors, such as people with color blindness or low vision. For this reason, we must transmit the information using other elements and not exclusively with color.
Let’s think that we have inserted a pie-type Word chart to show the percentage of students by gender. The chart would be as follows:
We can see that the information is transmitted only through color, that is: We have a couple of legends that indicate that the colour red refers to the percentage of men and the color blue to the percentage of women. But ... What if the person can not distinguish the colors? They cannot relate to which part of the chart each legend refers and, therefore, they will not be able to understand the data.
In the following chart, however, in addition to transmitting information through color, we can see the data directly inside of the parts of the charts, so the chart will now be accessible.
To facilitate the task, Word brings a series of predefined styles for each type of chart, which we can apply with the following steps:
- We select the chart to which we want to apply a style.
- We select the Chart Design tab.
- And we select one of the styles in the toolbar, making sure that it complies with the condition that it does not transmit information solely through color.
Finally, as we will see in the section Using color, we will have to pay special attention to the contrast between the background color and the color of the text to guarantee its readability.