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Charley's Swipe File #48

Showing both a band of past performance and the median value in your Excel charts can help readers interpret recent performance more easily.

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

Charley's Swipe File #48Magazines often include charts that show bands of performance like this. And some include the median, as shown here.

You can use similar charts in many ways:

  • For seasonal activity, the band can show the range of activity by month in recent years, as this one does.
  • For new products, the band can show the range of growth rates in sales for each number of months after a product first ships.
  • For data that varies significantly by day within a month, like stock market data, the band can show the ranges of values by month.
  • Etc.

Charts like this are easy to create. You just need to use a stacked area chart.

That is, this figure contains four data series, not just the three series shown in the legend. Its fourth series is...

(Continued in the documentation.)

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