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Clickable Column Charts


New Member
Hi Chandoo,

I've seen some of your ideas for making charts interactive (filters, for example) and they are really neat. I do have a question about adding the kind of interactive functionality that some very large BI software vendors have - and that is the idea of a clickable, column chart.

I apologize if you have already answered this somewhere else, but the scenario I'm thinking of is something like this. Let's say I have a list of costs for my groceries, presented in a column chart. The initial categories for my list would be Fruits, Vegetables, Dairy, Breads. If I click on Dairy, I would get another column chart that says Cheeses, Milk, and Yogurt. Finally, if I click on Cheeses, I would see another column chart with the costs of all the types of cheeses I buy.

Essentially I want to continue to drill down until I get to the bottom layer of "the onion". Although I could this if I always had 3 levels of drilldown, I'm not necessarily going to have 3 levels all the time for all my food categories. Sometimes, I might have less; sometimes more. So, that is why I thought that adding 3 filters to the chart wouldn't necessarily handle the case when I had 4 levels of dropdown.

So, my question is whether there is an easy way to do this in Excel (with or without macros). I realize that I could write a custom solution for each particular chart I want, but that is not really what I'm after. I'm more interested in a template or technique that I could apply to several charts with different levels of data.

Thank you in advance for considering this question.




Excel Ninja
Staff member

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Have a look at the links shown here:



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New Member
Hi Hui,

Thanks for the link to YouTube. When I viewed the video, it shows how to click on a Pivot Chart to have it show you the underlying data that comprises the chart. But, what I'm really after is to click on a bar chart (whether it is made from a Pivot Chart or a regular chart) and have it show you ANOTHER bar chart of the underlying data. Thus, if you clicked on Dairy Foods from a bar chart of all different foods that you could buy in a grocery store, Excel would then display another bar chart showing the number of different cheeses, milks or yogurts you could buy. Being able to click on the last bar chart, and having it show you the underlying data would be nice, but I'm looking for a way to "zoom in" and "zoom out" in terms of bar charts. I've seen practically all commercial BI packages do this, but I don't know of a way to easily do this via Excel. I would assume that Chart Events would be required, but I'm not sure how to do this.

Thanks again.



New Member
Hi SirJB7,

One of the links that is contained in the 2nd posting may be helpful. I'm not interested in mousing over a columnn chart to display another chart in its place, but really want to make sure the user clicks on a particular column, so that categories comprising the underlying data are also displayed in a chart. So, I actually haven't seen that exact solution.

In the 1st link, there is another possible solution. One of the links shows how you can embed a drop down in a chart, to be used to display the data you want. But, I'd have to use cascading dropdown lists, so the category selections change every time.

There are a lot of good tips contained in the links you mentioned. But, I'll continue to look and see if a more direct solution to my problem already exists out there.