Learn About Combination Charts In Excel

Learn About Combination Charts In Excel

Combination charts in Excel are visual representations of data that make it easier to understand complex information at a glance. Instead of sifting through rows and columns of numbers, charts allow you to present data in a more digestible and meaningful format. Excel offers a variety of chart types, each designed to showcase different aspects of data, ranging from simple bar charts to more advanced scatter plots.

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Charts enhance data analysis by providing a visual context, making trends, patterns, and comparisons more apparent. Whether you’re tracking sales figures, project timelines, or survey results, charts can simplify information communication and aid decision-making.

What are Combination Charts in Excel?

Combination charts in Excel combine two or more different chart types into a single chart. This versatile feature enables users to represent multiple data sets with distinct characteristics in one visual display. For instance, you can merge a line chart depicting trends over time with a bar chart illustrating quantities.

Combination charts in Excel are handy when dealing with diverse datasets with varying scales or measurement units. Using different chart types within the same graph can effectively convey a more comprehensive picture of your data, helping your audience grasp correlations and trends more efficiently.

Combination charts in Excel empower users to present complex information in a unified and accessible manner, fostering a clearer understanding of the analyzed data. This feature comes in handy when you want to tell a complete story with your data by leveraging the strengths of different chart types within a single visual representation.

Types of Data Suitable for Combination Charts Comparative Data with Different Scales

Combination charts in Excel are ideal when comparing data sets with different scales or units. For example, you should visualize sales revenue (in dollars) and the number of units sold on the same chart.

  1. Time-Series Data with Trends: Combining line charts with bar or column charts is adequate for showcasing time-series data with trends. This could include visualizing monthly sales figures (bars) alongside the overall trend line to highlight patterns over time.
  1. Correlated Data: When you have data sets that are related or correlated, a combination chart can help emphasize these relationships. For instance, you could display the correlation between advertising spending (line chart) and product sales (bar chart) on a single graph.
  1. Percentage and Count Data: Combination charts represent both percentage-based and count-based data. For instance, show the percentage of satisfied customers (line chart) alongside the actual number of satisfied customers (bar chart).

Step By Step to Create a Combination Chart in Excel 

Creating combination charts in Excel is a straightforward process that involves a few steps. Here’s a simple guide to help you generate combination charts in Excel:

Selecting Data

Begin by organizing your data in Excel. Ensure that you have columns with the different sets of data you want to represent. For example, you have one column for sales revenue and another for the number of units sold.

Inserting a Combination Chart

Highlight the data you want to include in your chart. Go to the “Insert” tab in the Excel ribbon. Click on the “Insert” tab, and choose the “Recommended Charts” option in the Charts group. Select the “All Charts” tab on the left in the Recommended Charts dialog box. Choose the “Combo” category on the left and select the combination chart type that suits your data. 

combination charts in excel

Common combination chart types include “Clustered Column – Line,” “Stacked Column – Line,” or others based on your preference. Click “OK” to insert the combination chart into your Excel worksheet.

Choosing Chart Types for Data Series

Once the combination chart is inserted, Excel will create default chart types for each data series. Right-click on the data series you want to change (e.g., bars or lines), and from the context menu, select “Change Chart Type.” 

Choose the desired chart type for each data series in the Change Chart Type dialog box. You can experiment with combinations until you achieve the visual representation you need.

Customizing Combination Charts in Excel

Customize your combination chart to enhance its visual appeal and clarity. Adjust chart elements like titles, labels, and axes by clicking on them and using the formatting options in the Excel ribbon. Change colors, styles, and other formatting options to make the chart more visually appealing and aligned with your preferences.

Finalizing and Reviewing

Review your combination chart to ensure it effectively communicates the intended information. Fine-tune any additional details or formatting to make the chart clear and understandable.

By following these steps, you can easily create combination charts in Excel, representing diverse data sets in a single, cohesive visual display.

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Advantages of Combo Chart in Excel

Combination charts in Excel offer several advantages, making them a valuable tool for data visualization. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Comprehensive Data Presentation: Combination charts in Excel allow you to present multiple data sets with different characteristics in a single chart. This enables a more comprehensive and holistic representation of information, reducing the need for separate charts and facilitating easier comparisons.
  1. Highlighting Relationships: You can underline relationships and correlations between datasets by combining different chart types, such as bars and lines. This visual emphasis on connections aids in the interpretation of data and enhances the audience’s understanding of patterns and trends.
  1. Effective Comparison: Combination charts in Excel help when you need to compare data with different scales or units of measurement. For instance, comparing sales revenue (in dollars) with the number of units sold (quantity) becomes more intuitive when presented in a combination chart.
  1. Storytelling with Data: Using combination charts in Excel allows you to tell a more complete story with your data. Whether you are illustrating changes over time, comparing percentages and counts, or showcasing trends, the ability to incorporate multiple chart types helps create a more nuanced narrative.
  1. Space Efficiency: Instead of cluttering your worksheet with separate charts for each dataset, a combination chart consolidates information into one visual display. This saves space and makes it easier for the audience to grasp the overall message without navigating multiple sheets.

Disadvantages of Combo Chart in Excel

While combination charts in Excel offer various advantages, it’s also important to be aware of potential disadvantages. Here are some drawbacks associated with using combination charts in Excel:

  1. Complexity: Combination charts in Excel can become visually complex, especially when combining multiple chart types. This complexity may make it challenging for some users to interpret the data accurately, mainly if unfamiliar with the chart types used.
  1. Misinterpretation: There is a risk of misinterpretation when combining different chart types, as viewers may need help to differentiate between the various elements. This can lead to confusion and potentially inaccurate conclusions about the presented data.
  1. Limited Chart Types: While Excel offers a variety of combination chart types, there may be situations where only some of the available combinations perfectly suit the data at hand. This limitation could result in compromises in terms of visual representation.
  1. Data Overemphasis: In some cases, one set of data in a combination chart may overshadow another due to differences in scale or magnitude. This can lead to an unintentional emphasis on one dataset, potentially distorting the overall perception of the data.
  1. Formatting Challenges: Customizing and formatting combination charts in Excel can be more challenging than working with individual charts. Ensuring consistency in color schemes, labels, and other formatting elements may require additional effort and attention to detail.

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