The average Office user is familiar with graphics in the included programs - Word in particular. We're quite used to using arrows (or arrowheads), line drawings, shapes, fills, colour and WordArt in a word processing document or PowerPoint presentation, yet we do not immediately link these with an Excel Spreadsheet. Spreadsheets can be boring - if you're sharing them with others, or want to get your point across on how important the data it contains actually is, then using graphics can be a great way to do it.

Charts are the most common (or the only!) graphic we associate with Excel. This needn't be so. Think about how you want your data to be viewed. Your audience may be pushed for time and may not have the inclination to see a pattern that you see as 'obvious' in the data. Never presume that a user of your data knows as much as you do about it. It's your data, of course you know the trends and results it has yielded in the Spreadsheet - but you're going to have to spell it out for other people.

Think about how you could do this. Let's say that despite the economic crisis, the sales figures in your company have been going steadily up this last financial year. That's great news, and something you'd want to share in the raw data. A chart steadily increasing from January to December may not give your message - yes, sales are up - anyone can see that, but think about how you can show the trend. Using an upwards arrow drawing, perhaps with a speech bubble drawn next to it (saying something like "this month is an increase of 20% on the last year") gets more attention than just showing people a chart and asking them to draw their own conclusions.

There are other subtle tools at your graphics disposal. You can have shapes (or indeed, your charts) filled, coloured - with a gradient or without - and even effects, such as shadowed or mirrored text or WordArt. A caveat, though - less is usually more when it comes to business presentation. If it's (literally) all singing, all dancing - be aware who will finally be reading this data.

There may be advantages to using particular features - mirroring text may be ideal for printing out onto a clear projector film so that it appears face up to the audience, for example.

Remember though, to be businesslike is to be professional, and that means - don't overdo it. If your presentation starts looking like a Christmas tree or something your kids would make, then you've probably gone too far! The graphics you use should enhance what you are trying to say, not detract from it. If you really want to be creative, you can bring in other more interactive programs such as Powerpoint or even a webpage that your clients or colleagues can surf. Remember - less is more when it comes to graphics, but it's worth considering a little splash of them to add panache to your presenting.