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How-to highlight maximum value in Excel charts? [Quick tip]



Ever wanted to highlight maximum value in charts? Then this tip is for you.

highlight maximum value in Excel charts

Sample data – Highlighting max values in Charts

Let’s say you have some data like this. If you make a chart, you get the output shown to right.

sample data - highlighting values in charts
Sample Data
chart with no highlighting
Default column chart

To highlight values, just add extra series

Now the fun part begins. To highlight values in Excel charts, we simply need to add extra series with the values you want to highlight. Let’s say you want to highlight the product with maximum units sold. Add an extra column to calculate the values, as shown below.

max column added to data thru formulas

Now, our chart becomes this:

chart with max value column

But we just want one series, not two!!!

While this highlights max value in a different color, it doesn’t quite cut it. We just need to remove the original value.

Or, we could simply overlap one series on top of another, like layering.

Select the chart series and go to format series (Click on the series, press CTRL+1).

Now, set up series overlap to 100% and your maximum value is highlighted.

demo of series overlap - Excel charts

That is all. In just a few minutes and clicks, your chart highlights maximum value.

Another example – Line chart with maximum value highlighted

Here is another example of this technique. This time with a line chart.

max value in line chart highlighted

Apply this idea for other situations too…

You can apply this technique to highlight various kinds of things, like:

  • Minimum values
  • Above average values
  • Values that meet certain target
  • User selection values

FREE Download – Sample file for this tip

Click here to download sample file with few types of highlighted charts. Examine the data, formulas and chart settings to learn more.

Highlight maximum value in Excel charts – Video tutorial

More ways to customize Excel charts

This is one of the many powerful but easy techniques for working with Excel charts. Here are a few of my favorite tips on charting. Check them out to learn more.

Add a reference line to charts

Create info-graphics with shape fill options


Forecasting using Excel charts

Learn more about highlighting values in Excel charts.


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5 Responses to “How-to highlight maximum value in Excel charts? [Quick tip]”

  1. Jitendra says:

    Hi Thanks for the new tutorial. However I could not make the formula for the additional colum added, work the way showed on the video i.e. when I use the if formula, I could not get the if([unit sold....) to work. I can only get if(C4...)
    Do you define the range or is it excel version issue.

  2. Gina Rosato says:

    I have a combo chart listing four weeks of a month with a column for maximum attendance allowed at five campuses identified by columns. I have data in columns listing the actual attendance at those campuses for each week represented by lines. I am struggling getting the line to go directly related to the campus represented column for each week. Each actual line starts in the middle of each week. When I click on tick marks, I loose two columns on the far left. I am quite frustrated. Any solution or advice you can recommend would be appreciated. Thanks!

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