For business users of Microsoft Excel Free guides and templates

Windows & Mac Excel

Charley's Swipe File #24

This Excel figure shows a great way to set up a legend with a lot of text and the most-recent value. You could use it in nearly any business report.

by Charley Kyd, MBA
Microsoft Excel MVP, 2005-2014
The Father of Spreadsheet Dashboard Reports

Charley's Swipe File #24In the past, my Swipe Files have used artificial data and “Greeking,” which is what they call fake Latin, for some reason.

But this figure shows actual data returned by the KydWeb add-in.

The advantage to this approach is that the example data could actually be useful and interesting.

The disadvantage is that you might limit your thinking only to the type of real data I happen to show. Try to avoid that trap. Instead, as always, try to think of how you can use the figure’s general format to display your own data more effectively.

Usage Ideas

This is a great way to set up a legend to show a lot of text while optionally providing the most-recent value. You could use this approach – with or without the comment near the top of the figure – in just about any report.

Excel Issues

One feature that strikes you immediately is the color selection. Using muted colors rather than bright colors tends to give the figure a more elegant appearance.

Notice the date labels. I’d be willing to bet that you’ve never seen anything like them before in an Excel chart. Make sure you examine the Data worksheet to see how this effect is accomplished.

The colored rectangles are “fat” cells with their contents vertically centered. And notice that the descriptions in these rectangles use the Indent setting in the Alignment tab of each cell’s properties dialog.

This month, I’ve also included a web-ready version of this report. So if you have KydWeb, you’ll be able to play with the actual data yourself.

Making Changes

If you want to add one or two lines, the major challenge will be to find colors that look like they belong in this figure. (I wouldn’t add more than two lines, because the chart would get impossibly cluttered.)

Here’s an easy way to find other colors that fit...

(Continued in the documentation.)

Order Details

Excel Versions:

Excel 2007 and after, for either Windows or Mac


Instant download of zipped Excel and PDF files. If you ever need another download, you can get it at any time.


One full year, unconditional.


All prices are in US Dollar currency.


Two copies: One for work plus one for home.

Credit Cards:

Credit Cards

Only $12.95 USD

New Excel