Creating a chart with critical zones

Excel 2016
Periodical processes like the volume of support service calls often have critical zones that indicate a severe problem that needs to be investigated and mitigated. This tip shows how to reveal and emphasize those critical zones for analysis.
The Competition Chart in Excel 365

E.g., if you have data like this:

To create the chart with broken data, do the following:

   1.   Add additional data for this chart - in this example:

  • column D  to show data before broken line
  • column E  to show data after broken data
  • column F  to show the biggest data
  • column G  for the broken line.
Additional Data Broken Chart Excel 365

   2.   Select all necessary data - in this example, B2:B12, D2:G12.

   3.   On the Insert tab, in the Charts group, select launch or click on the Recommended Charts button:

Charts in Excel 365

   4.   In the Insert Chart dialog box, on the All Charts tab, select the Combo group and then choose Custom Combination:

  • For all series, choose Scatter with Smooth Line chart type
  • For the Top and Broken Line data series, check Secondary Axis:
Combo Chart in Excel 365

   5.   Double-click in the primary vertical axis, and then in the Format Axis task pane, make all changes you prefer for this series. For this example:

Primary vertical axis in Excel 365

   6.   Double-click in the secondary vertical axis, and then in the Format Axis task pane, make all changes you prefer for this series. For this example:

Secondary vertical axis in Excel 365

   7.   To hide parts of the lines, select the part of the line, and choose Gradient Fill for it:

Gradient Fill in Excel 365

See more about gradient filling.

   8.   Make adjustments for Vertical Axes; do one of the following:

  • To hide values of both Axes, on the Format Axis task pane, on the Axis Options tab, in the Labels group, for Label Position choose None for every axis:
    Hide Axis labels in Excel 365

    Instead of hidden values, you can add a text box to the data you want:

    Text Box in Axes Fill in Excel 365
  • Instead of adding a text box to the chart, you can add the new data series with labels to substitute axis labels. See how to customize the vertical axis labels.

Make any other adjustments to get the look you desire.

See also this tip in French: Comment démontrer les zones critiques du graphique.

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