Thursday, June 5, 2014

Self-Expanding Charts Revisited

Sometimes you find a technique that is So Useful and So Easy that it may make you laugh.  I wrote about this topic a couple of years ago and since it is such a vital, albeit modest trick, it is worth revisiting and illustrating.

As is often the case, many Excel users of all levels spend a great deal of valuable time doing things that can be automated.  It may keep the unenlightened ones busy, but there are better ways to find self-worth.

Take Updating Charts for instance.  If you have worked in a responsible position as an Excel professional for an appreciable length of time, you undoubtedly have found yourself spending time doing the repetitious and tedious task of keeping the charts in your reports in sync with your revised data.

One painless way to avoid having to do this is to create a Self-Expanding Chart that requires no effort to maintain its currency.  If you using Excel 2007 or later, it couldn’t be easier.  Here is what you do:

1.  Create your Chart as you normally do
2.  Select any cell that contains the data that is used by the chart
3.  Choose Insert / Tables group / Table to convert the range to a table

4.  Validate the process by adding another record in the table

In the illustration below, you can add the July Sales data, and the chart will automatically update itself with a new column.

How utterly Cool is that!  Like I said before, sometimes things are so easy, that it makes you laugh!

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