How to create a step chart in Excel

Excel 2016
There are a lot of different pre-defined charts in Excel, but for some types of data, pre-defined charts such as area chart or line chart can look fine but are incorrect.

For example, for the changes in prices, invested amounts, or any discrete data with the timeline bar charts give a correct representation. However, if you want to use an area chart or any kind of line, scatter chart, it looks strange:

An example of line chart in Excel 2016    An example of area chart in Excel 2016  

Why is this strange? It looks like the data changes every day (month, year). For this example, it seems like you deposit or withdraw some amount every day.

To create a correct step chart, you need to make one simple additional step – add the intermediate data:

For example, if the data for the chart looks like:

The data for the chart in Excel 2016

To create a step chart, you will need two values for the same date:

  • the start value (previous value)
  • the end value (current value).

For this example:

The intermediate data for the chart in Excel 2016

After adding the data, just create a line chart or an area chart:

An example of step line chart in Excel 2016    An example of step area chart in Excel 2016  

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