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Last edit: 05-08-30 Graham Wideman
XLChartMatic for Microsoft Excel
Article created: 2005-03-04


Microsoft Excel's Chart feature provides a great deal of flexibility for charting data. However, the facilities it provides for the user to select data for charting, and for applying evocative formatting, is labor intensive and error-prone when there are a large number of data series.

Such a situation arises particularly with line charts and X-Y scatter charts. Individual data points in these charts occupy a very small amount of space, so these are the chart types most useful in portraying a large number of points.  And with a large number of points, you are more likely to be wanting to bring that data from a database (such as Microsoft Access) with as little manual intervention as possible.

The actual issue of importing the data (for example cut and paste from Access) is actually of less concern than having an arrangement of data which might best drive graphic features of a chart, again with as little as possible manual application of formatting to points or sets of points.

XLChartMatic and this document set out to address a number of issues in this area. The functionality is particularly applicable to Line and Scattter charts, and particularly suited to data whose arrangement you specify in a database query. However the functionality also works for other chart types, and can be arranged "by hand" using only spreadsheet facilities if so desired.

Issue XLChartMatic Features
Specifying many series of data to Chart Automates the specification of Chart data Series', based on a Series column (easy to generate from the database)
Detailed formatting of Series' or Points User can supply a number of additional columns to tell  XLChartMatic how to set custom formatting ,such as marker symbol or color
Excel's limited set of marker symbols XLChartMatic can apply custom markers from emf picture files supplied by user.  To these user-supplied symbols, XLChartMatic can apply colors and insert custom text on a per-series or per-point basis, again controlled by columns easily generated from the database.
Error bars XLChartMatic can specify cells providing error bar values for each point.
Limit of 255 series Excel Chart is limited to 255 series (less if error bars are used). XLChartMatic partially works around this by consolidating what are conceptually many small separate series into fewer larger series, then visually distinguishing the series by applying formatting to points.


1. A Bit About Excel's Chart Feature Not quite a tutorial on Excel's Chart feature, but a few points salient to understanding charts with many points and lines.
2. Organizing Data for Large Numbers of Points A convenient organization of data thought through
3. XLChartMatic: Download, Install, Run How to obtain and install.
How to use
4. XLChartMatic Columns Detailed documentation on the columns of cells in Excel which XLChartMatic digests.
5. Advanced Features Overcoming the 255-series limit. Using the custom markers feature.
6: Miscellaneous Notes  

Other Excel Chart References

Excel MVP Jon Peltier's Site Excellent reference material and tutorials on Excel Charts

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