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Charley's Swipe File #33

This Excel chart figure visually links specific points in the trend line to date and value information below the chart

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

Charley's Swipe File #33This simple figure solves two related problems I frequently have with charts.

One problem is that because a chart often canít display a label in the horizontal axis for the current period, weíre not sure what the date actually is. Here, for example, the March label isnít shown.

Another problem is that if we want to know the value of the current period or an earlier reference period, we must estimate it from the chart.

Therefore, itís sometimes useful to tell your readers the dates and values for specific points on a chart.

This chart uses dots to visually link the data below the chart to the appropriate points on the chart. (The version for Excel 2003 uses squares rather than dots, because circle markers were truly ugly before Excel 2007.)

If this were a one-time chart, you could set up the dots easily. You would just select the appropriate point and assign the marker you want. No problem.

But itís definitely a problem when you plan to update the chart regularly. Thatís because the dots donít shift to the next period when you add a new row of data. So you need to adjust them manually each period, which starts to feel a lot like Spreadsheet Hell.

The solution is easy, but requires three tricks...

(Continued in the documentation.)

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