# How to add a line to column chart? [Charting trick]

Let’s say you work in * super hero factory *as floor manager. You are looking at the recent time sheet data submitted by your underlings and want to know who works more. So you did what any self respecting floor manager does. You made yourself a large cup of hot chocolate, whipped open Excel and created a column chart.

But now, you want to add a line to it at 6:00 PM (or some other arbitrary point) so you can clearly see which superheros are over working.

So how do you go about it?

### Adding a line to column charts – Tutorial

This tutorial assumes you have a column chart. If you have a bar chart, you should use vertical error bars in step 6.

- In a cell, enter the value for your line. Say this is in C15 (and it has 6:00 PM)
- Add this extra point to your chart. At this stage you will get this.

- Take a sip of that scrumpdillycious hot chocolate.
- Convert the new series to as XY chart. Just right click on it and select “Change series chart type”.
- Add error bars to this new dot

- Excel adds both vertical & horizontal bars. We just need horizontal line. So remove vertical (Y) error bars.

*Note: if you are adding the line to bar chart, remove X error bars instead.* - Set error bar value to 7 (same as number of categories – 1)

- Format the error bar
- Set error bar to plus side only
- Remove cap
- Set the line color and thickness
- Remove marker symbol (set it to no marker) so we have only line

- Chug the rest of your hot chocolate, we are done!

### Video tutorial – How to add a line to column chart

Watch this quick video tutorial on how to add a line to column chart to understand this process better.

*You can also watch this video on Chandoo.org Youtube channel.*

### Download Example Workbook – Column chart with a line

**Please click here to download example workbook. **Play with the input data to see the chart change. Try to recreate the chart from scratch to master this technique.

### Become a super hero of Excel charting

Unleash the super hero in you by learning few charting tricks and tips. Start with below, but be warned though. Everyone is going to love your charts.

- Tell all versions of truth in your dashboards
- Color changing line chart…
- Cropped chart – when some values are too big for it
- Use shapes to enhance your charts
- 15 quick & powerful ways to analyze business data

### How would you add a line to column charts?

Using error bars to add a horizontal line (or vertical) is just one of the many ways to do this. * How would you add a line to column charts?* Please share your techniques in the comments section.

### Leave a Reply

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## 15 Responses to “How to add a line to column chart? [Charting trick]”

Functionality is good.

I wish you should display the Version of Excel that you are Demonstrating.

I have Excel 2010 and it doesn't contain Error Bars.

If I am wrong please let me know.

Appreciate all you do and thanks for educating the community.

Kris,

Excel 2010 does have Error Bars. Select your chart > Layout tab on the ribbon> Error Bars

Hope this helps

Darran

Super simple: Add a line chart element to the chart and link to a new data set, all with same value for each superhero, hence displaying as a straight line.

I would prefer to add a third series, all 06:00 PM, and then change it to a line chart. It will give the same result.

Sunny Kow

http://www.andypope.info/charts/averageline.htm

How would you add a range, say 5-6 shaded in light red for example?

Any ideas?

Hi Richard,

This gets complicated, as you need a number of series and then get creative with formatting. Will need a series for 5pm, for 6pm and a dummy series as well.

Once you got that, go to either http://peltiertech.com/excel-charts-with-horizontal-bands/ or http://peltiertech.com/fill-under-between-series-in-excel-chart/ and make sure you have a double shot of really strong hot chocolate.

Chandoo, why not only add third series as @Sunny Kow already suggested?

What is the difference?

As I mentioned in the video, there are many ways to do this. I believe, I have covered the third series technique in a previous video or post. So I wanted to showcase the error bar technique. Also, the line chart method won't work with bar charts (as lines need different X/ category values). Hope that helps.

To avoid the need to repeat the target time for every person and still end up with a line that runs all the way across the chart, follow these steps. Note: this line will truly extend all the way across the chart instead of stopping in the middle of the first and last categories as happens with Chandoo's example.

Plot/move the new series to the secondary axes.

Turn off the secondary vertical, leaving the secondary horizontal turned on but not shown (all display elements set to None) and with the setting to "Position Axis: On tick marks."

From the Select Data dialog, enter the series (y) values for the line as =(SheetName!$C$15,SheetName!$C$15) or simply click that cell twice using the Ctrl key. Including the parentheses is important in allowing you to repeat the cell address.

It will not be necessary to enter anything for the category (x) values.

Yeah... I'm really confused why the secondary axis approach wasn't used.

what he said, exactly the way I'd do it and for those reasons

and if you make the line really thick and semi-transparent, then you've got a band

My boss wanted exactly this and I was looking for this...It gave the quick solution to my problem...Thanks!!

Thanks...thanks...gave the speedy answer for my issue