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Incell Bar charts – Revisited



1-incell-bar-charts-verticalizedI can never get tired of in-cell charts, whenever I get sometime, I try to experiment something on them. Here is an idea to design true incell column charts without using any add-ins or installing fonts. These charts can be fun to have on your project report or annual news letter or memos, they take as much time as munching a handful of M&Ms.

  Download excel chart containing incell bar chart example

1. First we will create in-cell chart using rept() the usual way

2-create-normal-incell-charts-firstThis is the simple step. For a sample data, we can use rept() excel function to repetitively print a symbol. Thus, by repetitively printing “|” (pipe) we can create incell bar charts.

REPT() example is shown below:

=rept("|",10) will print ||||||||||

2. Next combine several incell charts to create a column chart

We can combine various incell charts using excel’s concatenate() function or & operator. Better still you can use the concat() UDF. The trick here is we will delimit each chart with an ENTER key code by using char(10) as the delimiter. When used along with “wrap text” cell format this key code will force cell contents to a newline where the char code 10 is inserted.


3. Finally rotate the cell contents by 900 to make the charts vertical

Just select the cell contents, hit ALT+1, and set the alignment formats so that the text is vertically aligned in the cell, and turn on wrap text.


That is all, you will now have an incell bar chart that is vertical like the one below:


Pretty cool eh?


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39 Responses to “Incell Bar charts – Revisited”

  1. Simon says:

    Hey Chandoo,

    I just came across your blog a few days back, and have been facinated by your blog, esp excel tips. Keep the good work going.

    I am from IIMK 2007 batch.

  2. Pankaj Verma says:

    Hey Chandoo,

    I have been visiting your blog quite frequently ever since I discovered this during a google search. I had read your tip on incell charts earlier and then applied the text orientation and created the similar type of charts and got 'wows' from my colleagues. I wanted to share that with you earlier and others but found no link to upload a file on your site. Am glad that you finally suggested the same thing in your post today.

    Keep up the good work

  3. Pankaj Verma says:

    Hey Chandoo,

    I have been visiting your blog quite frequently ever since I discovered this during a google search. I had read your tip on incell charts earlier and then applied the text orientation and created the similar type of charts and got 'wows' from my colleagues. I wanted to share that with you earlier and others but found no link to upload a file on your site. Am glad that you finally suggested the same thing in your post today.

    Keep up the good work


    Pankaj Verma

  4. awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Jon Peltier says:

    Nice charts.

    To make a degree sign (°), hold ALT while typing 0176 on the numeric keypad. Nicer than superscripts, and the RSS feed is less likely to display it improperly.

  6. Chandoo says:

    @Simon - welcome to PHD.. thanks for the comments..

    @Pankaj - you can always share your ideas in comments... or drop me an email at chandoo dot d at gmail dot com. thanks for the comments 🙂

    @Sukhbinder .. thank you 🙂

    @Jon.. that is an excellent tip there... I will use it from now on...

  7. Cheryl says:

    That's really cool, but still not quite sparklines. Have you had any luck with making those?
    Your site is really great, btw!

  8. Chandoo says:

    @ Cheryl: Thanks for the comments, yeah still no luck with them.. may be this weekend 😉

  9. Greg says:

    First time visitor, I will be back, your excel tips are great. Question about this worksheet. It is looking for an add-in in your c:drive for a "macros.xla"
    Is this macros.xla a macro workbook which comes from installing one of the add-ins?

  10. Greg says:

    Ahh, after spending time with your blog I found the May 28 post. I'll download that and give it a try

  11. Chandoo says:

    @Greg ... welcome, thanks for the comments.

    well, it is looking the addin for the concat udf which I used to create the incell chart. You can find out more about it : http://chandoo.org/wp/2008/05/28/how-to-add-a-range-of-cells-in-excel-concat/, I forgot include it the spreadsheet code as it was on my macros.xla add-in.

    Let me know if you still have difficulty

    • David says:

      Hi Chandoo, I am still having issues getting either the XLA UDF to work or the simple concatenate to work. When I use concatenate using & the bars simple stack on each other. How do I get around this?

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  15. [...] If you are new to in-cell charting, I suggest you read the incell bar charts article to understand the [...]

  16. Subhra says:

    How can I make incell charts in excel 2007?

  17. Gabriel says:

    You are a king!!

    Thanks for helping the world!!

  18. Sahrukh says:

    Hi Chandoo,
    I have been following your tips for a looooong time now..and finally writing to you as am stuck with a problem.
    Was using your rept() formulas when I thought of making it appear on a scale.

    I am using the rept() function to show a % figure. 60% would give me 6 "*". However just wondering if it is possible to show 10 "*" and only 6 of them highlighted in a different colour in a cell. The remaining 4 grayed out but still visible. Dont know if it is possible, if yes can you help me with this.

    Currently I am using a temporary solution by aligning the achieved result (6 in this case) right and the very next cell left aligned to show the remainder (4 in this case) grayed out. However it looks very shabby.


  19. [...] Pomys? z powtarzaniem znaków mo?na rozwin?? i wykorzysta? do pokazania trendu kilku kolejnych liczb. Ciekawe podej?cie znalaz?em na blogu http://chandoo.org/wp/2008/07/15/incell-bar-charts-revisited/. [...]

  20. zzlina77 says:

    Speechless...awosome! Thanks Chandoo.

  21. mathew says:

    How do you insert a watermark in Excel sheet?

    • Hui... says:

      There are a few ways to imitate a watermark in Excel
      1. Use a background Picture
      Goto page Layout, background and insert a Picture
      2. Use a Picture in a Header or Footer
      Goto Insert, Header & Footer, choose an image
      3. Use Word Art
      Goto Insert Word Art, setup as required
      The first 2 methods require that you have already setup an image with the correct wording as a Bitmap image

  22. Greg says:

    How would you be able to do this as a function in VBA? select the cells you want and out pops this bar graph?

  23. Manoj Kumar says:

    I have gone a fan of u.

    Pls provide me some extra ordinary tips of excel and VBA

  24. Aditi Dhawan says:

    Hello Chandoo
    I find you blogs priceless and have learnt so much from it.  I was wondering during your next trip to Australia, are you planning to visit Adelaide, I would not miss one of your sessions for anything in the world.
    Please try and make it if you can.

  25. Marloes says:

    Hello, somehow the char function does not work when i use it there is no new line created.

    ths is the same as above is it not. ?

    any explanation. is it something in my excel settings?

    • Hui... says:

      Char(10) is a Line Feed
      For Excel to take advantage of that the cell where it is must have Wrap Text enabled

      Select the cell/s
      Ctrl 1
      Enable Wrap Text

  26. Gabriel says:

    Instead of =rep("|",n) it is better :=rep("?",n) or =rep("?",n)
    ? ? alt+220 , ? ? alt+219

  27. Gabriel says:

    ? = alt+220 or alt+219 that make it continous line. (put it as the first parmeter of REPT function.

  28. Chandrasekhar says:

    Thanks for the great tip, Chandoo! Awesome! My leadership was delighted by my output! To make it better, I have applied "Britannic Bold" font. It turned real solid. However, choosing different colors for each bar in many cells in a column is a royal pain though. Mine are simple bar charts. No negative value charting.

  29. Chandrasekhar says:

    They are not trends, but indicate different depts of organization and their contribution at functional levels.

  30. Senthil says:

    Hi Chandoo,
    Found your tips useful.
    I suggest to add the category / timeline to Incell graph.
    "|||||| Jan
    |||||| Feb
    ||||||||| Mar
    | Apr
    |||||||| May
    || Jun"
    I used
    REPT("|",C7/2)&REPT(" ",((MAX($C$7:$H$7)+2)-C7)/2)&C6
    to add the timeline

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