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Charley's Swipe File #25

Most column charts intermix the data series. But this Excel chart groups the columns, making performance of each data series easier to visualize.

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

Charley's Swipe File #25This chart shows annual performance for four data series over ten years.

Most column charts intermix the data series. But here, the columns are grouped. This makes the performance of each data series easier to visualize.

Usage Ideas

The chart shows actual data for the four countries, but you could use it to display the performance of any annual or quarterly data.

You typically would use a line chart to show monthly data, not a column chart. This is because a line chart implies continual performance, not discrete “lumps” of performance, like a year.

You also could use this chart to display more or fewer data series, with more or fewer number of periods.

Excel Issues

I used KydWeb functions to return the data and labels from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, but you could use any technique you want to populate the data.

In the X axis, notice that labels for 2001 and 2011 are repeated several times. Also, most charts display labels every few periods, but this one displays labels at the beginning and ending of each series.

Here’s the simple trick I use to control these labels:

(Continued in the documentation.)

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