Earlier in the week Chandoo presented Give more details by showing average and distribution
At the top of the post was a small screen capture from Amazon.com showing a 5 Star chart showing that Twilight had a 3.5 Star Rating (way over-rated if you ask me).
I received an email shortly afterwards from Rajiv, “How can I make one of those charts ? ” with the Stars Circled
It’s actually very simple and this post will show you how.
The technique involves putting a mask in front of a single bar from a Bar Chart
The mask has a plain background and has cut-outs where the Stars are, which are transparent and so only the bar chart shows through in those areas which are cut out.
Lets Do It
On a worksheet we need a cell where we have a Rating Value, lets use B2
Make the value in Cell B2, 5
Select the cell B2 and Insert Chart
Insert a Bar Chart (Clustered Bar)
Delete the following chart objects
- Major Grid Lines
Select the Horizontal Axis
Change the Horizontal Axis Scale to
- Minimum 0
- Maximum 5
Delete the Horizontal and Vertical Axis
Move the chart and resize the Bar to your requirements
Change the Bar’s Fill to suit
Set Border color to No Color
Import the 5 Star mask attached here
Position the mask in front of the charts Bar
With the mask selected shift the Right hand side and then left hand side so that you can just see the edges of the bar.
Check the placement by trying the numbers from 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 0.1 in B2
You should see all the stars perfectly when the placement is correct
Select the Chart and 5 Star Mask together
Use Shift while selecting each one
Group the Chart and Mask together, so that they can’t be moved
Your are free to shift and resize this combined object on your worksheet as required
A Similar technique can be used for Vertical Charts using a Column Chart instead of a Bar Chart
The masks used here were made in CorelDRAW, but can be made in any Drawing/Paint program like Paint.NET, that allows you to save PNG’s with Transparency effects
The masks consists of:
- 5 Stars which have no outline color and are transparent
- 1 Rectangle which is White with no Outline color
The 6 objects are then Joined enabling the holes of the Stars to show through the White Rectangle
Using this technique any shape can be used as a mask
I have included the following masks for you to practice with or use:
If anybody knows how to join objects together in Excel to make holes through them as required here, Please let us know in the comments below:
The above technique is great for application to Thermometer Charts, where the Thermometer can take on all values from 0 to 100% or 0 to $200,000
or whatever you require.
Extensions of the Technique
This technique can be extended in a number of areas
The Thermometer chart above shows one such area
The other is applying multiple Masks to multiple Bars/Columns in one chart, But I’ll leave you to practice that.
Limitations of the Technique
Two main limitations of this technique are:
As Excel charts are scaled, Excel internally decides what space should be between the Plot Area, Titles and the edge of the Chart Area. This is not maintained constantly and hence the Plot Area may scale at a different ratio to the Chart area and overlying mask.
If this happens Ungroup the Chart and mask and reset ecverything at the new size.
The mask has a Fixed color, in the above examples it is white.
The mask cannot be colored in Excel to Match the background color of the Worksheet if it isn’t white.
So a new Mask will need to be made.
What Do you Think of this Technique
What Do you Think of this Technique?
How else can you see this technique being extended?
Let us know in the comments below: