Building Charts with Multiple Series and Custom X-Axis

The Plan

This data set has a standard list of date outputs, followed by a percentage and a category. We’re going to want to make it easy to understand what categories these percentages are coming from, which means either labeling them or making them look different. Ideally, we want to make it easy to tell at a glance, which means color coding is better than labels.

Another thing to consider, is the fact that the dates are not uniformly distributed… This means that if we just put together a standard chart with a date on the x-axis, there will be a lot of white space where there isn’t any data. This makes it harder to read, so unless you are trying to extrapolate a trend or do some other time series, it is probably good to get rid of the gaps in the data.

We’ll keep these two things in mind as we build our chart…

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Andrew Roberts ThumbnailAndrew Roberts has been solving business problems with Microsoft Excel for over a decade. Excel Tactics is dedicated to helping you master it.

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6 thoughts on “Building Charts with Multiple Series and Custom X-Axis

  1. Hello!

    In the every first picture there are only September and November dates in Column A, but then in the 5th picture the Dates in Column A have changed to include December, January, and February. I don’t understand how the dates got changed after reading the instructions a couple of times – feel free to email me.

    Thanks for this Webpage on Multi-series charts. You helped to display the data much more efficiently and that’s Important when presenting data.

    Joe Miyaki
    [email protected]

    1. Hi Joe,

      The data was sorted to put all the data points from the same category next to each other. This makes it easier to build out columns for each category.

  2. Andrew, thanks a million for this presentation. We have been bashing our brains out trying to figure out how to chart multiple species’ abundance over multiple sites in our intertidal survey of the California coast using newly acquired Excel skills and had not yet learned how to present data to Excel to achieve this result. Your effort on this page is very much appreciated. James.

  3. Hi Andrew, Thank you so much for this. Like James I’ve been trying to figure out how to chart one species, Pearl-bordered fritillary, over 5 sites, over 5 years. Your tutorial helped me a huge amount. Thank you so much. Paula.

  4. Hi,

    I just wanted to thank you for this amazing guide! It really saved me time and gave me further insight into the powers of Excel.


  5. How would you set the Axis to recognize 3 different formats. My data includes whole numbers, percentages and currency depending on the selection.

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