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Charley's Swipe File #41

This chart shows a series of boolan (yes-no) conditions by month. But this isn't really an Excel chart; it's a spreadsheet with conditional formats.

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

Charley's Swipe File #41This chart shows recessions by country by month for countries followed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRB). More generally, it shows trends in Yes/No conditions by category by month.

Unlike most of my other Swipe Files, this isn’t really an Excel chart. Instead, it’s a spreadsheet that uses conditional formatting.

The General Approach

For each of 38 countries, and for each month since 1961, the FRB updates files that indicate recessions. The files use the number 1 to mark a recession, and zero otherwise.

So the colored area of this chart consists of cells with ones and zeros. Excel’s conditional formatting displays the gray-green color for cells with zeros and the red color for cells with ones.

Also, if no data is available, as in the far right of the figure, formulas return -1; Excel displays these values with a white background.

The colored area contains six years of monthly data. All 72 columns are displayed in the chart, with each column only .5 units wide.

The Data

If you want to update this display with recession data, you can get it by using this link…
…where the text in upper case is the Series ID, which you can find in column B of the Data sheet in the CharleyFile_041.xlsx workbook.

Of course, if you want to use this figure to display your own data, you probably would use...

(Continued in the documentation.)

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