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Creating an Interactive Chart in Excel

Imagine you have a worksheet with lots of charts. And you want to make it look awesome & clean.
Solution?
Simple, create an interactive chart so that your users can pick one of many charts and see them.
Today let us

understand how to create an interactive chart using Excel.
PS: This is a revised version of almost 5 year old article – Select & show one chart from many.

A demo of our interactive Excel chart

First, take a look at the chart that you will be creating.
How to create interactive chart using Excel - Demo
Feeling excited? read on to learn how to create this.

Solution – Creating Interactive chart in Excel

  1. First create all the charts you want and place them in separate locations in your worksheet. Lets say your charts look like this.
    Create charts in separate ranges like this...
  2. Now, select all the cells corresponding to first chart, press ALT MMD (Formula ribbon > Define name). Give a name like Chart1.
    Select all cells corresponding to first chart and give them a name like Chart1
  3. Repeat this process for all charts you have, naming them like Chart2, Chart3
  4. In a separate range of cells, list down all chart names. Give this range a name like lstChartTypes.
  5. Add a new sheet to your workbook. Call it "Output".
  6. In the output sheet, insert a combo-box form control (from Developer Ribbon > Insert > Form Controls)
    Insert combo-box form controls - Excel
  7. Select the combo box control and press Ctrl+1 (format control).
  8. Specify input range as lstChartTypes and cell link as a blank cell in your output sheet (or data sheet).
    [Related: Detailed tutorial on Excel Combo box & other form controls]
    Combo box form control settings - Excel interactive chart tutorial
  9. Now, when you make a selection in the combo box, you will know which option is selected in the linked cell.
    Demo of combo box & cell linkage - Excel interactive chart tutorial
  10. Now, we need a mechanism to pull corresponding chart based on user selection. Enter a named range – selChart.
  11. Press ALT MMD or go to Formula ribbon > Define name.  Give the name as selChart and define it as
    =CHOOSE(linked_cell, Chart1, Chart2, Chart3, Chart4)
    PS: CHOOSE formula will select one of the Chart ranges based on user's selection (help).
  12. Now, go back to data & charts sheet. Select Chart1 range. Press CTRL+C to copy it.
  13. Go to Output sheet and paste it as linked picture (Right click > Paste Special > Linked Picture)
    Pasting a picture link - Excel interactive chart tutorial
  14. This will insert a linked picture of Chart 1.
    [Related: What is a picture link and how to use it?]
  15. Now, click on the picture, go to formula bar, type =selChart and press enter
  16. Move the image around, position it nicely next to the combo box.
  17. Congratulations! Your interactive chart is ready :)

Download Interactive Chart Excel file

Click here to download interactive chart Excel file and play with it. Observe the named ranges (selChart) and set up charts to learn more.

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