Gauges are a familiar metaphor, everyone can understand them, you can see them everywhere – near your stove, ac, car, gaming console, pc – you name it. So, when you are preparing a chart to tell a point, gauge chart like the one above can be effective. (I know charting pros like Jon Peltier wouldn’t agree with this and prefer speedometer charts only in cartoons.)
Unfortunately Excel doesn’t have a gauge chart as a default chart type. They of course have a 3d line chart, but let us save it for your last day at work. Meanwhile we can cook a little gauge chart in excel using a donut and pie (not the eating kind) in 4 steps.
1. Have your data ready
For a typical gauge or speedometer chart we need to have these 5 different values
- What the is gauge size?
- What is the range of Red zone?
- What is the range of Yellow / Amber zone?
- What is the range of Green zone?
- What is the value to be shown on Gauge?
In our case we can use typical values like you see on the right.
2. Make a doughnut chart using Red, Yellow and Green Values & Pie Chart
This is a simple step, just select the data for speedometer and click on insert chart and select “Doughnut” as chart type. Make sure you have added a data row in the end with value as 100 to get a gauge with 180° or 50 to get a gauge with 270°
Making the pie chart
This is another simple step, easier than eating pie. Just create a pie chart with 3 values,
- Gauge value
- 200 minus gauge value + 1
3. Blank out the bottom half of doughnut and pie charts
Just select the blank portions of doughnut and pie charts and set their border & background colors to none.
While you are at it, adjust the colors of donut portions to red, amber and green (or your favorite speedometer colors)
4. Finally, put the pie chart on top of donut chart
Just drag and drop the pie chart on the donut chart. Tweak the colors if needed, adjust the “send to background” / “bring to foreground” settings.
That is all, you will now have a neat looking gauge / speedometer chart to show off. Don’t forget to download the Microsoft excel gauge chart template