I was saddened to hear that due to the death of its founder, Andreas Lipphardt, BonaVista Systems is no longer in operation. According to the web site:
BonaVista Systems, the makers of the MicroCharts family of sparkline and dashboard utilities for Microsoft Excel, has released a new product called Chart Tamer. Chart Tamer is designed to simplify and beautify Excel charts. Actually, I should not say “beautify”, because that implies embellishment. Chart Tamer simplifies and clarifies Excel charts.
A peek at the Chart Tamer dialogs shows how it accomplishes its goals. First, Excel’s available chart types have been whittled down by eliminating pie and donut charts, radar charts, and all 3D charts. Based on the relationships which you wish to display (more than one can be selected for each chart), and on how you wish to feature this information, Chart Tamer offers a subset of these for you to select from.
For example, if I want to display some time series data, Chart Tamer disables chart types which are unsuited for this data.
The resulting chart is clean, without the extraneous elements of a default Excel chart. By default the chart includes the legend, which I’ve deleted in the sample below. I’ve also enlarged the chart within its enclosing shape, to reduce the expansive borders typical of Excel charts prior to 2007.
I’ve left out the dialog that allows you to show chart and axis titles and gridlines.
Chart Tamer cleans up charts by employing color schemes designed by an expert in human visual physiology. Colors can be defined for the data elements of the chart . . .
. . . and for non data elements as well.
Chart Tamer can be used to clean up existing charts using the settings for new charts. Chart Tamer includes a color picker to help you format cell text and background colors, and it includes a cell border formatting feature (below).
One issue to be aware of is that Chart Tamer changes the default palette in your Excel 2003 installation, replacing those awful default Excel colors with its own eyesight-friendly shades. In general this is a good thing, unless you’ve customized your palette to match your company logo or favorite sports team’s uniforms.
I tested the beta version of Chart Tamer, but haven’t done anything more than drive this version quickly around the block. The beta operated smoothly, and didn’t break anything; so far the final version looks good as well.
BonaVista Systems offers a 30-day trial of Chart Tamer. They didn’t pay me anything to write this review, they didn’t even ask. I just thought it was something that my readers might be interested in.