Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Here are two different line chart variations—both of which
show the same information, although you’d never be able to
tell that from looking at them quickly.
Top: This chart is a regular line chart that compares the
sales for three different regions over time.
Bottom: This chart is a stacked line chart, which plots each
subsequent line by adding the numbers from the earlier
lines. That makes the stacked line chart a great vehicle for
showing cumulative totals. For example, sales in Region 3
for April of 2010 appear to top $150,000. That’s because the
Region 3 line is stacked. It shows a total made up from three
components—$72,000 (Region 1), $54,000 (Region 2), and
$34,300 (Region 3). In this example, the stacked line chart
clearly shows that sales spiked early on, but have risen
overall, which isn’t clear in the top chart. However, the stacked
line chart also obscures the differences between the regions.
You’d never guess that Region 3 is the underperforming
region because this chart reflects the total of all three regions.
Note: Lines can never cross in a stacked line chart because Excel adds each series to the one (or ones)
before it. You can change which line is stacked at the top by changing the order of the series. To do this,
rearrange your table of data on the worksheet (Excel places the rightmost column on top).
• 100% Stacked Line . A 100% stacked line chart works the same as a stacked line
chart in that it adds the value of each series to the values of all the preceding
series. The difference is that the last series always becomes a straight line across
the top, and the other lines are scaled accordingly so that they show
percentages. The 100% stacked line chart is rarely useful, but if you do use it, you’ll
probably want to put totals in the last series.
• Line with Markers, Stacked Line with Markers, and 100% Stacked Line with
Markers . These subtypes are the same as the three previous line chart subtypes,
except they add markers (squares, triangles, and so on) to highlight each data
point in the series.
• 3-D Line . This option draws ordinary lines without markers but adds a little
thickness to each line with a 3-D effect.