Creating a rainbow thermometer chart

Excel 365 2013 2010
Creating a thermometer chart, you are not limited to a single color bar. Instead, you can specify different colors for different value intervals. This tip shows you how to create a rainbow thermometer chart. E.g., working on some goal, you can specify risk zones for it: red zone - the risk of the fail is high, yellow zone - success/fail is unknown, green zone - success is not far enough.
The thermometer Chart Excel 2016

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

= SUM (C5:C14)

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

= C17 / C16.

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

   1.   Add additional data to see different colors for different intervals (in this example, cells C20:C24):

Additional data Excel 2016

   2.   Select cells C20:C24.

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

Column Charts in Excel 2016

Choose the 100% Stacked Column 100% Stacked Column Charts in Excel 2016 chart.

   4.   Do one of the following:

  • Right-click in the chart area. In the popup menu select Select Data...:
    Select Data in Excel 2016

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

    Add data series in Excel 2016
  • Under Chart Tools, on the Design tab, in the Data group, click the Switch Row/Column button:
    Switch Row/Column in Excel 2016

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

Format data series in popup menu Excel 2016

   6.   On the Format Data Series pane for every series choose different colors. You can choose different series by selecting each data series on the chart or in that pane:

Choose data series in Excel 2016

Make any other adjustments to get the look you desire.

See also this tip in French: Comment créer un graphique de thermomètre arc-en-ciel.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.