During a recent training program, one of the students asked,
Thermo-meter charts are very good to show how actual value compares with target (or budget). But how can we add another point for say Last Year value to the chart with out cluttering it.
Something like this:
Sounds interesting? Read on.
Step 1: Create a bar chart from your data
Assuming you have data like this,
Select and create a bar chart from it. We need 3 bars (in different colors). If needed, use the Switch Rows / Columns button from Chart > Design ribbon. Once done, you should have something like this:
Step 2: Add Error bar to Last year series
Select the last year series & Add % error bar. Now, select the error bar and press CTRL+1 to format it.
- Set error percentage to 1% (for smaller chart sizes, you need 2 or 3%)
- Remove error bar caps.
- Go to line style and set begin style as a dot
At this stage, your chart should look like this:
Step 3: Overlap series & Remove fill colors
This is easy. Select any series and press CTRL+1 to format it. Set series overlap to 100%.
Then select last year series and set its fill color to none.
Select Target series & set fill color to none.
Set outline to the same color as actual series and make line thickness as 1 pt.
Step 4: Clean-up
Finally, remove legend, grid lines, axes and re-size the chart.
Congratulations! you have just made a custom thermo-meter chart.
Download thermo-meter chart template
Click here to download the workbook & play with it. Examine how the chart is made and see what additional customizations can be made.
Do you use Thermo-meter charts to compare actual with targets?
I think thermo-meter charts are the easiest way to compare actual with target. I use them often in my dashboards & reports.
What about you? what kind of charts do you use to compare actual with target (or budget) values? Please share your techniques and ideas using comments. Go!
Compare Actual with Target values? Check out these
Please see these articles to learn how to compare actual with target values.
- Best charts to compare actual vs. targets
- Budget vs. Actual charts – 14 variations
- Using form controls to interactively compare
- World education rankings – interactive comparison chart
My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.
Thank you and see you around.
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