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Create a Thermometer Chart in Excel

Updated on February 3, 2011

Charts are a fantastic way of visually presenting data in Excel. There are many different types of charts for different purposes depending on what you want to show and the data you are using.

Thermometer charts are great for comparing actuals against a target such as sales made compared to the sales target.

The steps below illustrate how to create a thermometer chart in Excel to compare sales made with the target.

Create a Simple Column Chart

  1. Select the data you want to use
  2. Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon
  3. Click on the Column button and choose the 2-D column from the menu

Column chart in Microsoft Excel
Column chart in Microsoft Excel

Format the Sales Data Series

  1. Right click on the Sales data series and click Format Data Series from the shortcut menu
  2. Set the Series Overlap to 100% overlapped
  3. Click on the Close button

Change the data series to 100% overlapped
Change the data series to 100% overlapped

Format the Target Data Series

  1. Right click on the Target data series and click Format Data Series from the shortcut menu
  2. Select on the Fill category
  3. Click on the No Fill option
  4. Select the Border Color category
  5. Click on the Solid Line option
  6. Apply the same colour that is used for the Sales data series
  7. Click on the Close button

Format the fill and outline colour of the Target data series
Format the fill and outline colour of the Target data series

Remove the Gridlines and Axis

  1. Click on the Layout tab on the Ribbon
  2. Click on the Gridlines button
  3. Select Primary Horizontal Gridlines and click None
  4. Click on the Axes button
  5. Select Primary Vertical Axis and click None
  6. Click on the Axes button
  7. Select Primary Horizontal Axis and click More Primary Horizontal Axis Options
  8. Select the Line Color category
  9. Click the No Line option
  10. Click the Close button

Format chart gridlines and axis
Format chart gridlines and axis

Apply Data Labels to the Thermometer Chart

  1. Select the Target data series
  2. Click the Data Labels button and select Outside End
  3. Select the Sales data series
  4. Click the Data Labels button and select Inside Base

The finished thermometer chart
The finished thermometer chart

A beautiful thermometer chart has been created showing the sales made compared to the target.

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