The purpose of default settings in a graphic tool is to make it easy to produce good graphics that accord with the principles of statistical graphics, e.g., Tufte, E.R., 1990. Envisioning Information. Graphics Press, Cheshire, Conn, Tufte, E.R., 1997. Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, 2nd Edition. Graphics Press, Cheshire, Conn, Cleveland, W.S., 1993. Visualizing Data. Hobart Press, N.J Cleveland, W.S., 1994. The Elements of Graphing Data, rev. edition. AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J, Wainer, H., 1997. Visual revelations: Graphical tales of fate and deception from Napoleon to Ross Perot. Copernicus, New York, Spence, R., 2001. Information Visualization. ACM Press & AddisonWesley, New York, and Few, S., 2004. Show Me the Numbers. Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ]. If the defaults do not embody these principles, then the only way to produce good graphics is to be sufficiently familiar with the principles of statistical graphics. This paper shows that Excel graphics defaults do not embody the appropriate principles. Users who want to use Excel are advised to know the principles of good graphics well enough so that they can choose the appropriate options to override the defaults. Microsoft® should overhaul the Excel graphics engine so that its defaults embody the principles of statistical graphics and make it easy for non-experts to produce good graphs.
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