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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Charting Side by Side Comparisons

Since it is getting to be that time of comparing budget to actual and doing forecasting for 2009, I thought I would show you a couple of different ways to create some charts.

This one is called a Side by Side Comparison and is simple to create. The trick is in setting up your data.

In this example, Column A is the months. Column B is the whole year budget by month and Column C is the actual by month. Notice that the Column C data does not begin until row 15 (This was so that I could have a space on the chart between the two series). Once your data is set up like this, just select it all and create a chart as you normally would.

If you don't think the the column chart showed the trend differences very well, consider a line chart. Below is an example, using the same data.
Tomorrow, I will talk about combination charts.


  1. Hi Patricia -

    The line chart shows time trends better. I think the comparison would be easier if you used the same 12 categories for both sets of data, instead of placing them end-to-end. This makes comparison of actual to budget easier.

    This end to end approach would be good for data that extended over multiple years. You can use the different series formats to distinguish between years.

  2. Hi Jon- I agree with your comment. An example of actual sales for a 3 or 4 year period would have been a better example for the side by side comparison approach. My example is really better suited for a combination chart. Thanks.


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