Ideas for better organizing lots of charts
As soon as you've created more than a few charts and/or are working together with others in teams, you'll need to organize your charts. Here are some ideas:
Idea 1: Create folders to mirror your workflow
In MyCharts/TeamCharts, you can create folders and drag visualizations from one to another. You can find how to do so in this article. You can use these teams to create workflows:
To know where things are at when collaborating with coworkers, set up subfolders for steps of the process like “Draft”, “Fact-Check” and “Published”. If your coworker has a Kindergarten emergency an hour before publishing the report, you can take over and make the last changes to their chart.
You can also create multiple teams: For example, when teaching data visualization with Datawrapper, create a new team for each class and invite your students, then create a new folder for each assignment and let your students move their submissions there. You can check their data, sources and chart design choices directly in the app:
Pro tip: Define a default folder (like “1 Drafts”) where all the visualizations created within the team land. You can do so in the team settings.
Idea 2: Keep up to date with Slack notifications
To get notified when somebody in your team creates or publishes a chart, create Slack Notifications. You can do so in the team settings with the help of a Webhook URL.
Idea 3: Create templates
Creating templates has a big advantage when your charts look very similar to each other, and/or you want your team to follow lots of standards.
In 2019 we interviewed Jo Noppe, whose team at Statistics Flanders (Statistiek Vlaanderen) has created 2000 Datawrapper charts and maps on more than 300 webpages. He explained to us that people on his team create charts based on templates instead of from scratch:
“It’s very easy in Datawrapper to make duplicates of charts.” Jo explained to us. “Nobody in our team makes charts from scratch. We prepared ten or so templates for everyone to use and if somebody wants to create a chart, they duplicate one of these templates.”
In the duplicated templates, Jo’s colleagues replace the data, title, source, and description. The colors, spacing, and everything else stays consistent. Jo points out that this saves supervising effort for the chart experts and reassures the rest of the team. “When using templates, my colleagues know that they create charts that are up to standard. They know they’re doing well.”
It also saves a lot of time. “Duplicating templates is the quickest way for us to do data visualizations,” he explains, adding that this is key to his job. “When we get data from other data producers, we sometimes only have two or three days to make the charts, write the articles, and publish it all. It’s important that we can deliver very fast. Datawrapper is one of the reasons this is possible.”
Idea 4: Give each visualization a title, even if you hide it
In MyCharts/TeamCharts, you can search for your charts based on the title. So even if you don't use the title in your final chart, consider giving it a descriptive title anyway:
This way, you can be sure to be able to find it again.
Do you have more tips? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're looking forward to it!