Creating automatically extended plot ranges

Excel 365
If you often need to adjust your data ranges so that your charts plot an updated data range, you may be interested in a trick that forces Excel to update the chart's data range whenever you add new data to your worksheet.
Chart in Excel 2016
The Chart with automatically extended plot ranges in Excel 2016

To force Excel to update your chart automatically when you add new data, follow these steps:

   1.   On the Formulas tab, in the Defined Names group, click Define Name:

Define Name in Excel 2016

   2.   In the New Name dialog box, in the Name field, enter Date, and in the Refers to field, enter this formula:

=OFFSET(<Sheet name>!<start cell>,0,0,COUNTA(<Sheet name>!<Column name>:<Column name>) - 1)

New name in Excel 2016

   3.   Click OK. Notice that the OFFSET function refers to the first data point (cell B5) and uses the COUNTA function to get the number of data points in the column.

   4.   Type Sales in the Name field, and in the Refers To field enter the same formula only for Sales data:

New name in Excel 2016

   5.   Click OK to close the dialog box.

   6.   Create the chart.

   7.   Change the range of data series and axis with the names that you defined in Steps 2 and 4:

  • Series values: <Excel-file name>!Sales
Series in Excel 2016
  • Axis label range: <Excel-file name>!Date
Axis label in Excel 2016

After you perform these steps, when you add data to columns B and C, the chart updates automatically to show the new data (see on the top of this screen). To use this technique for your own data, make sure that the first argument for the OFFSET function refers to the first data point, and that the argument for COUNTA refers to the entire column of data. Also, if the columns used for the data contain any other entries, COUNTA will return an incorrect value.

See also this tip in French: Comment créer les graphiques avec les plages de tracé étendues automatiquement.

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