Creating a semaphore thermometer chart

Data visualization is a key cognitive tool that enables you to attract more attention to your statements. E.g., you can direct your organization attention to insufficiently developed goals and praise them for successfully performed goals. This tip shows you how to update thermometer char colors automatically according to the current process status.
The thermometer Chart Excel 2010

For example, a worksheet set up to track daily progress toward a goal: 1,000 new sales in a 10-day period. Cell C16 contains the goal value, and cell C17 contains a simple sum formula:


Cell C19 contains a formula that calculates the percent of goal (see Creating a simple thermometer chart):


Data for thermometer Chart Excel 2010

To create the chart like this one, do the following:

    1.    Add additional data to see different colors for different volumes (in this example, cells C20:C23):

Additional data Excel 2010

    2.    Select cells C20:C23.

    3.    On the Insert tab, in the Charts group, choose the Column button:

Column Charts Excel 2010

Choose Stacked Column.

    4.    Do one of the following:

  • Right-click in the chart area. In the popup menu select Select Data...:
    Select Data in Excel 2010

    Then in the Select Data Source dialog box, click the Switch Row/Column button:

    Add data series in Excel 2010
  • Under Chart Tools, on the Design tab, in the Data group, click the Switch Row/Column button:
    Data in Excel 2010

    5.    Remove the (x) axis and the legend. Make any other adjustments to get the look you desire (see Creating a simple thermometer chart for more details).

    6.    Right-click in the data series and choose Format Data Series... in the popup menu:

popup data series in Excel 2010

    7.    In the Format Data Series dialog box, on the Fill tab, choose color you prefer:

Choose color for data series in Excel 2010

    8.    Change colors for all data series. To select other data series, do the following:

  1. Open the Format Data Series dialog box.
  2. Under Chat Tools, on the Layout tab, in the Current Selection, choose data series:
    Choose data series in Excel 2010
  3. In the Format Data Series dialog box, on the Fill tab, choose color you prefer for this series.

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