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Charley's Swipe File #28

This professional-quality Excel chart figure shows a long-term trend, highlights recent performance, then shows a close-up view of recent performance.


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

Charley's Swipe File #28People who read charts often want to see recent performance within a broader context. But that creates a problem:

When you show performance over a long period, you condense recent performance to the point that it’s almost invisible.

The way to get around that problem is use two charts, as in this figure. Here, simple formatting makes the relationship between the two charts obvious. The key element is the highlighted area of the left chart, an area that exactly highlights the area shown in greater detail at the right.

You could use figures like this to show the performance of nearly any measure over nearly any long period.

Excel Issues

This figure deals with three Excel issues: the highlighted area in the left chart, the X-axis labels in the left chart, and the orange pointer between the charts…

The highlighted yellow area in the left chart relies on a simple trick, it uses...

(Continued in the documentation.)

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Excel 2007 and after, for either Windows or Mac

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