Expand a Chart Using Drag and Drop
Here is a cool & easy Excel charting tip for those of us who must re-do Excel charts each week, month, quarter or year to reflect a new data point.
Here is a fairly normal situation. You've set up a chart to reflect monthly sales and profit for your company. You print a copy for your manager and the manager says, "Great - update this every month."
At the end of the next month, you plug the April sales figures into column E. But, of course the chart does not expand to include these new months.
Excel provides an amazingly simple solution. Highlight the new data, including the month header. Take your mousepointer and grab the thick black border around the selection. Drag this region down and drop it on your chart.
Presto! The chart expands to include your new month's data.
NOTE: The drag and drop trick was taken out of Excel 2007. In Excel 2007, use this method:
- 1) Click on the chart.
- 2) You should see a blue outline around the charted data. In each corner of the outline is a square dot. Grab the lower right blue square dot and drag to the right in order to add the new data point to the chart.
Here are some other charting shortcuts to help you format your charts.
- Right click a bar once to select the entire data series. Choose "Format Data Series" to bring up a dialog where you can change the pattern for that series, add data labels, change the order of the series, etc.
- Left click a bar once, pause then left click the same bar again. Right click the bar and choose "format data point" to apply a unique pattern or data label to a single bar.
- For a unique effect, from the "format data series" dialog, choose fill effects from the pattern tab. Go to the picture tab and pick a picture of you company's main product. Now, the height of the bar can be represented by a stack of widgets instead of just a colored bar.