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Whether you're working on a school report or a product plan, your document needs to stand out and your research needs to stick in people's minds. You can help readers remember your data by using visual elements--tables, charts, or SmartArt graphics.
Visual elements can communicate information quickly, and readers are more likely to remember a visual image than a block of text.
But which one do you use? Will a table, a chart, or a SmartArt graphic best present your key points?
SmartArt graphics are designed to present ideas--or any information that's in text or even pictures. SmartArt graphics are especially effective at showing processes or relationships, and how different elements are connected.
Charts are designed to show numeric values. They're good at presenting trends at a glance. They give your readers a good look at changes that happen over time. Charts can also show ratios (think of a pie chart) or comparisons between two or more data points that you're tracking.
For more information about SmartArt graphics and charts, see When should I use a SmartArt graphic and when should I use a chart?
That brings us to tables.
Using a table, you can present exact values. The trend isn't as easy to see, but the hard numbers are visible. Tables also work well when you want to show different kinds of information. For example, in a table you can show a list of book projects, number of pages, project leaders, planned launch dates, current project status, plus maybe projected sales, budget information, project genre, or a plot summary.
You can find more information about tables in Word 2010 on Office.com.
-- Joannie Stangeland