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Data Storytelling With Intuitive Visualization

Class Code


Class Description

Most Technology Training classes will be delivered online until further notice.

Before each sesson, Tech Training will provide a Zoom link for live online classes, along with any required class materials.

This course is designed to help you understand best practices for data visualization and storytelling, even without prior experience. Learn tips to engage your audience to help them remember the key points of your data.

Prerequisite: Working knowledge of Microsoft Excel

- Professionals who have an audience who would benefit from insightful data communication
- Professionals who want to. create impactful storytelling with data visualization

Human brains are wired to remember stories. But real decision-making is spurred by emotion of story combined with the logic of data, influenced by visuals. This highly-interactive course will show you how to turn insights, data and recommendations into an audience-centric visual narrative.

You will use Microsoft Excel to create effective visualization of common data analysis. This course culminates in a project in which you will use sample data to create visualizations and storyboards to prepare a presentation to a fictional audience.

Learning Objectives

After this course, you will have the opportunity to develop these skills:

  • Elevate the meaning behind your data
  • Transform your messages into impactful data stories that resonate with your audience
  • Describe data visualization best practices
  • Understand an easy-to-apply framework for building audience excitement about your data

Topic Outline

Crafting the Story

  • Understanding your data 
  • Understanding your audience 
  • Exploratory vs. explanatory analysis
  • Sketching your ideas and stories 
  • Questions to ask -- What makes a good data visualization?

Information Hierarchy

  • Focusing on an audience on what's most important and only revealing details as needed
  • Explore - Visual exploration
  • Explore - Indexes and ratios
  • Convert - Grouping
  • Convert - Aggregating
  • Convert - Data formats

Visual Display

  • Position, size, color, contrast and shape 
  • Typography and iconography 
  • Basic charts and alternative charts 
  • Hierarchical data 
  • Legends and sources 
  • Watch out - Cognitive overload (Eliminating distractions)
  • Watch out - Signaling where to look
  • Watch out - Lack of visual order


  • Why interactive experience? (vs. static experience)
  • When and where to go interactive 
  • Think interactively to provide productive experiences
  • The right technology for your needs


  • Defining your narrative
  • Keeping audience's attention, and making everything relatable 

University IT Technology Training classes are only available to Stanford University staff, faculty, students, and Stanford Hospitals & Clinics employees, including Stanford Health Care, Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley, Stanford Medicine Partners, and Stanford Medicine Children's Health. A valid SUNet ID is needed to enroll in a class.