How to create an interactive chart with drop-down list in Excel

Excel 2016
Excel has a lot of different, useful features to help you to present data. There are a lot of different charts you can create (see charts). One of the features for presenting your data in an interactive chart with a drop-down list.

See also interactive charts.

Interactive chart with drop-down list in Excel 365

To create an interactive chart with a drop-down list, do the following:

   1.   Add additional data to your spreadsheet for drop-down list values:

  • Number as an index of the selected list item,
  • All items in one column if you want to create a list from the column names (if you want to create a list of row names, this step isn't needed).

For example:

Additional data for drop-down list in Excel 365

   2.   Create data ranges, which will be used for the interactive chart:

   2.1.   On the Formulas tab, in the Defined Names group, click Define Name (see Creating and using named ranges for more details):

Define Name in Excel 365

   2.2.   In the New Name dialog box:

  • In the Name field, enter the name of this new range, for example, SeriesA,
  • In the Refers to field, enter this formula:

= IF (<condition>, <series data>, 0)

Where the condition is the option to show this data series.

In this example:

= IF ($H$2=1, $C$3:$C$14, 0):

New Name dialog box in Excel 365

   2.3.   Add the new data range for the other series.

In this example:

  • Second data range:
    • Name: SeriesB,
    • Refers to: = IF ($H$2=2, $D$3:$D$14, 0),
  • Third data range:
    • Name: SeriesC,
    • Refers to: = IF ($H$2=3, $E$3:$E$14, 0).

   3.   Create a chart that includes all data series:

Chart with all data in Excel 365

   4.   Change the data series:

   4.1.   Do one of the following:

  • On the Chart Design tab, in the Data group, choose Select Data:
    Select Data in Excel 365
  • Right-click in the chart area and choose Select Data... in the popup menu:
    Select Data in popup menu Excel 365

   4.2.   On the Select Data Source dialog box, for the Legend Entries (Series), select the first data series that you would like to show using the drop-down list and click the Edit button:

Select Data Source in Excel 365

   4.3.   In the Edit Series dialog box, change Series name and Series Y values (or Series values) to the appropriate names:

Edit Series in Excel 365

   4.4.   Repeat the previous steps for all other data series that you will show using the drop-down list.

   5.   Add the drop-down list to the chart:

   5.1.   On the Developer tab (see Show the Developer tab), in the Controls group, click the Insert drop-down list and then choose Combo Box:

Controls, Combo box in Excel 365

   5.2.   Right-click on the drop-down list and choose Format Control... in the popup menu:

Format Control in Excel 365

   5.3.   In the Format Control dialog box, on the Control tab:

  • In the Input range field, select the range of item names (in this example, H3:H5),
  • In the Cell link field, select the cell with the index of the selected item (in this example, H2),
  • In the Drop down lines field, type the number of items in the list:
Format Control Combo box in Excel 365

Make any other adjustments to get the look you desire.

Note: To show data series, Excel will use the colors from the theme by default. To use your colors for checked data series, create a new theme with custom colors. For example:

Custom colors for chart in Excel 365

See How to change the default colors that Excel uses for chart series for more details.

See also this tip in French: Comment créer un graphique interactif avec une liste déroulante dans Excel.

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

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