Creating a semaphore thermometer chart

Excel 2016 2013 2010
Data visualization is a key cognitive tool that enables you to attract more attention to your statements. E.g., you can direct your organization's 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 365

For example, a worksheet set up to track daily progress toward a goal: 1000 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:

Data in Excel 365

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 365

   2.   Select cells C20:C23.

   3.   On the Insert tab, in the Charts group, click the Insert Bar or Column Chart button:

Column Charts in Excel 365

Choose Stacked Column:

Stacked Column Charts in Excel 365

   4.   Do one of the following:

  • Right-click in the chart area. In the popup menu select Select Data...:
    Select Data in Excel 365

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

    Add data series in Excel 365
  • On the Chart Design tab, in the Data group, click the Switch Row/Column button:
    Switch Row/Column in Excel 365

   5.   Remove the horizontal (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:

Format data series in popup menu Excel 365

   7.   On the Format Data Series pane, on the Fill tab, choose the color you prefer:

Choose color for data series in Excel 365

   8.   In the Format Data Series pane, choose different colors for every series. You can choose different series by selecting each data series on the chart or in that pane by clicking the arrow next to Chart Options:

Choose data series in Excel 365

Make any other adjustments to get the look you desire.

See also this tip in French: Comment créer un graphique de thermomètre de sémaphore.

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