At 11PM on the evening before the Board meeting, the finance department emails you a horribly looking PowerPoint deck full of copied tables from Excel with the latest quarterly results. There is no time to start designing beautiful data charts. What emergency fixes can you do?

Here are a few suggestions:
  • Select the the table and set the fonts and font sizes to the ones you are using throughout the presentation. (Get rid of that Excel Arial)
  • Remove as many abbreviations as you can
  • Right-align the row labels
  • Right-align the numbers
  • Take out decimal points, or add decimal points so that the numbers align
  • Round up to whole millions, billions if you can
  • Select the columns with data and distribute them, set them to be exactly the same width
  • Put repeated words ("M&S" in my example) to the right
  • Center the column headings
  • Bold up the totals
  • Get rid of as many borders as you can
  • Add some subtle grey tones to differentiate columns
Click on the image for a bigger picture.

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