Yesterday I have learned this cool excel charting trick and I cant wait to share it with you all.
The problem: I have too many charts & want to show one based on selection
You have made 3 charts to show your company performance in the last 8 years. But you don’t want to clutter the project report with all of them. You would rather want to show one chart and let user choose to see the any of the other two, like this:
The Solution: Use INDIRECT() and a nifty image hack
- First, create your charts in a separate worksheet like this (remember you need to create all 3 charts first)
- Once the charts are created adjust the width and heights of 3 cells and place one chart in each like above.
- Now, go back to the sheet where you want to control the display, and define a new named range. Lets call it getChart. You can define new named ranges from menu > insert > name > define. You will see a dialog box like this (right):
- In the “Refers to:” area we will now write an INDIRECT() spreadsheet formula to refer to one of the 3 cells where charts are placed. A sample formula is below:
IF('View them here'!$C$2="Sales",INDIRECT("'Place your charts here'!F11"),IF('View them here'!$C$2="Expenses",INDIRECT("'Place your charts here'!F12"),INDIRECT("'Place your charts here'!f13")))
- The above formula assumes, you are going to control chart display thru cell C2 in the sheet ‘view them here’
- Now adjust a cell’s size in this spread sheet to be big enough so that we can fit the selected chart.
- Go to Menu > Insert > Picture > From File and insert any picture. This is just for a placeholder purpose, so any picture would do, including that of your cat’s. 🙂
- Finally, select the image and go to formula bar and type
=getChart(or whatever name you gave to the named range), like this:
- Change the value in C2 and see the magic.
How this hack works?
In excel you can assign named ranges to images inserted in the sheet. So when you adjusted the cell sizes in the sheet with charts and created indirect references through INDIRECT() formula and used it in the named range, excel fetched the content of the cell (the chart) and replaced your cat’s picture with that. This powerful little trick can help you make interactive dashboards within little space.
Pretty cool, eh?
Download and see in action
Here is a link to the downloadable conditional chart display workbook. I have tested this in Excel 2003, but I guess it should work the same way in most of the modern versions of excel. Feel free to drop a comment if you see this not working in a particular version.