Treemaps and Sunburst Charts for Statistical Analysis with Excel

By Joseph Schmuller

Before you can begin your statistical analysis with Excel, you need to familiarize yourself with the different types of charts you will have at your disposal. A treemap is a type of hierarchical chart that shows patterns in data. Rectangles represent tree branches, and smaller rectangles represent subbranches.

Below, the data in the spreadsheet are research-and-development expenditures in three U.S. federal agencies in 2010. Each agency is the highest level in the hierarchy (tree branch), and the area is the next level (subbranch). To make the treemap like the one you see here, select cells A1 through C8 and picked Tree Map from the Recommended Charts.

Creating a treemap.

Note that the treemap doesn’t show the dollar figures, but represents them as proportions of area.

The Sunburst chart illustrates the same type of data as the treemap. The image below shows the Sunburst chart for the data above. The highest level in the hierarchy is in the inner ring; the sublevels are in the outer ring. Like the treemap, the Sunburst chart doesn’t show the dollar figures, but represents them as proportions. You create this one by selecting cells A1 through C8, and selecting Sunburst from Recommended Charts.

A Sunburst chart.