How to create a dynamic chart
Question: How do I create a chart that dynamically adds the values, as i type them on the worksheet?
Answer:
The following animated picture demonstrates what an excel defined table can do for your charts:
The excel table expands automatically when you add new data. Use the tab key to move to next cell in an excel defined table.
Create an excel defined table
 Select A1:B3
 Click "Insert" tab
 Click "Table" button
 Click OK!
Become more productive โ Learn Excel Defined Tables
An Excel table allows you to easily sort, filter and sum values in a data set where values are related.
Become more productive โ Learn Excel Defined Tables
Create a chart
 Select a cell on the excel defined table
 Go to tab "Insert" on the ribbon
 Click "Column chart" button
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How to temporarily hide rows or columns
The following animated picture shows you how to hide columns or rows.
Instructions on how to hide columns:
 Select columns by selecting column letters above grid
 Right click on selection
 Click on "Hide"
Here is a post I did about how to hide columns using vba:
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How to remove rows / columns
 Right click on a cell
 Click "Delete"
 Click "Table Rows" or "Table Columns"
Download excel *.xlsx file
Dynamicchartv2.xlsx
(Excel 2007 Workbook *.xlsx)
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Make a dynamic chart for the most recent 12 months data
The following instructions are made in excel 2007. If you are an excel 2003 user, first read excel 2003 instructions below to understand how to create named ranges in excel 2003.
Create two named ranges
 Go to tab "Formulas"
 Click "Define name"
 Name it "recentmonths"
 Type "=OFFSET('recent 12 months'!$A$1,COUNTA('recent 12 months'!$A:$A)12,0,12)" in "Refers to:"
 Click ok!
 Click "Define name"
 Name it "recentvalues"
 Type "=OFFSET('recent 12 months'!$B$1,COUNTA('recent 12 months'!$A:$A)12,0,12) " in "Refers to:"
 Click ok!
Insert chart
 Go to tab "Insert"
 Click "Column chart" button
 Click "Clustered column chart" button

Right click on empty chart
 Click "Select Data..."
 Click "Add" button

Type in "Series values:" =Sheet1!recentmonths
 Click OK
Repeat above steps and add a new series using the named range ='recent 12 months'!recentvalues.
Change horizontal axis labels
Excel 2003  Dynamic named range > Dynamic chart
This animated picture demonstrates how a dynamic named range automatically adds new values to the excel chart, as they are typed.
Letยดs say you created this basic chart below. Now you need to setup named ranges, they expand automatically whenever new data is added.
Excel 2003 instructions:
 From the menu bar, click on "Insert"
 From the dropdown menu select "Name"
 Click Define
 Name it "months"
 In "Refers to:" text box, type =OFFSET(Sheet1!$A$1,0,0,COUNTA(Sheet1!$A:$A),1)
 Click OK
Repeat above steps and create a named range named "numbers". Use this named range formula:
=OFFSET(Sheet1!$B$1,0,0,COUNTA(Sheet1!$A:$A),1)
The named range formula is made assuming your data begins in cell A1 and that there are no headers.
Create a chart
 From the menu bar, click Insert and Chart
 Select a column chart
 Click Next
 Go to Series tab
 Add a series
 Type in values: =Sheet1!months
 Add another series
 Type in values: =Sheet1!numbers
 Click Finish
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Thanks a lot for this illustrative and easy way to do a dynamic chart. Really helped me a lot!
Hi
This is great if your data (rows or columns) is increasing in size. However, doesn't seem to work if you reduce the number of columns, the graph still displays blanks for the 'missing' data
Can you help?
Excel seems to not let me enter the new series equation in the formula bar. I can type it, but pressing enter or the check mark doesn't do anything. If I do it from "Select chart data", it determines the initial state and then uses that cell reference from then on.
For example, "=SERIES(,O!OpDescriptions,O!CycleTimeValues,1)" would become "=SERIES(,O!$C$2:$C$12,O!$E$2:$E$12,1)" after initial entry. Any ideas?
erik,
change it manually via "Select Chart Data", series by series.
changing it via formula bar wont work (testd on Excel 2007).
The reason cutting and pasting doesn't work is that his examples have commas, and instead it should be semicolon (;). In the description of the functions, in fact, he uses semicolons. If you substitute commas with semicolons it works. Thank you for this tutorial!
giulia tonelli,
It has to do with regional settings. I use ; but most of my readers are americans and they use ,. That is why I use , on this blog.
I know david's post was a while back, but I really appreciate your post. I have the same problem Erik listed. I've spent hours trying to resolve  updates, etc. Using "Select Data" worked. Thanks for the article and allowing the comments.
Marvin,
You are welcome!
If you have your data in a table, you don't need to use the OFFSET function or defined name ranges (Excel 2007 only)
How do you edit the data if you have multiple series? I do not want to edit each one manually.
if there are two or more blank rows? as shown the following
janurary 5
feburary 4
march 6
apr 2
july 7
aug 8
zhen qin,
I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish. If you want two or more blank nonexisting bars in your chart, try changing the named ranges to:
Named Ranges
Month: =OFFSET(Sheet1!$A$1, 0, 0, MATCH(9,9999E+307, Sheet1!$B:$B))
Numbers: =OFFSET(Sheet1!$B$1, 0, 0, MATCH(9,9999E+307, Sheet1!$B:$B))
Where exactly do i find the chart bar. I am working in EXCEL 2007 and I don't see that.
Keith,
Thanks for asking, I have added pictures to this post.
This was a big help.
Thanks!!
tina
Tina,
I appreciate your comment! :)
Thanks!
Help! What if my data range includes a set of "IF" formulae that sit blank until other datasets are completed elsewhere, (i.e. i have 20 rows, but currently only 5 have data, but the others are formulaed and the data will appear as data is added elsewhere). It appears that the dynamic graph still considers them as values and includes them?!
(btw, otherwise thanks for this  really useful!)
James,
Named range Month
Named range Number
You, my friend, are a legend. Many thanks!
Thanks a ton !
James and Neha,
You are most welcome!
Oscar,
I am trying to implement your response to James's question as I am working on the exact same problem. When I use the below;
=OFFSET(Sheet1!$B$1,0,0,SUM((Sheet1!$B$1:$B$20"")))
I get an error. "A formula in this worksheet contains an one or more invalid references"
Your insights are greatly appreciated
Thanks
CM
CM,
Maybe this example file is helpful:
DynamicchartIF.xlsx
Excel 2007 *.xlsx
Oscar,
Thanks for the prompt response. I should have mentioned that I am trying to create a line chart. And if I have a month populated but not the number the line drops to the x axis which I am trying to avoid. This is a multi series chart. Any thoughts?
Thanks
CM
CM,
And if I have a month populated but not the number the line drops to the x axis which I am trying to avoid.
Strange, the line doesnยดt drop here. What formula is shown when you click on a chart line?
Hi
Thanks for this, it's just what I needed, however I need to take it a step further.
If looking at your example, my 'Numbers' are created from an If Statement. entering "" for blank cells. Excel doesn't seem to recognise this as an empty cell and thus plots it on the graph anyway.
Do you know of a way I can use get the chart to exclude these items?
Many thanks in advance
MK
MK,
Create a table.
Click black arrow on column header.
Deselect blanks.
Download excel 2007 *.xlsx file
MK.xlsx
Hi Oscar
Thank you very much. This has made my charts a thing of joy!
MK
Hello Oscar,
Using your example above, how would the "define name" functions/formulas change if I wanted to remove one data point for every one I add? (i.e. right after I add "April" to the data series, not only would I like "April" to automatically be added to the graph but also for "January" to be removed).
Thanks for your time!!!
Philip,
Named Range  Month
Named Range  Numbers
Download excel *.xlsx file
Dynamicchartdynamicrange.xlsx
Dear Oscar,
Many thanks for the interesting site!
Please could you advise how to apply this dynamic formating to include more data for example:
Expenses January Febuary March
Petrol 45 60 50
Cellphone 25 30 25
Hotel 65 75 50
Thank you in advance for any assistance you may be able to offer!
Kind regards,
J13
Jungleist13,
Example, excel table and a bar chart.
What excel version are you using and what chart?
Dear Oscar,
Many thanks for your swift response!
Excel 2007 not really bothered about type of chart, column is sufficient I just need to understand haw to apply the dynamic features to it? I can,t figure out how to alter the formating to cover the additional series?
Kind regards,
Jungleist13
Hi  I am trying to build a line graph that needs 2 series displayed dynamically. How would i go about building that? I underrstand how to do it for one series, but cannot figure out for 2.
Thanks.
Katy
Katy,
Is this what you had in mind?
yes  where the total number of records being plotted can vary
This is great! I was able to make it work. I do have a concern and a question on this issue that you may be able to help me with. 1) When adding a new date/month to the bottom of your list, the xaxis updates in the graph with the prior data remaining in place. This could lead to an incorrect graph if the data is also not updated. Shouldn't the data also shift over to the left so the added date/month shows blank data in the graph? If so, how? 2) How would this be adjusted for a table where the dates are already prepopulated, only adding in the data each day/week/month?
Clarification  2) How would this be adjusted for a table where the dates are already prepopulated, only adding in the data each day/week/month?
In this instance, the data table is prepopulated with dates. The graph only shows the most recent 13 entries, rolling each week/month as data is added. To clarify, not all dates are showing in the graph at one time  only the most recent 13.
Eureka! I figured it out  I changed my offset formula for the "months" to reference the month row but count the data row. This results in the table updating the date and data only once the data has been added!!!
Oscar, Thank you SOOOO much. I cannot tell you how much time this will save me on my weekly/monthly reporting! I've been mulling this over for quite some time, not knowing how to do it. You've been a godsend!
Oscar, in line with the questions above, I'm looking to add further columns of data for each month, e.g. Months, Numbers1, Numbers2 etc.
How do you adjust the "=SERIES(,Book3.xlsx!Months,Book3.xlsx!Numbers,1)" formula to include third, fourth and fifth columns?
Question on the NAMES and "SERIES" formulas. Should the NAMES be saved in the SCOPE of "workbook" or the specific worksheet and does that impact the "SERIES" formula? Always use the workbook name or worksheet name instead, depending on how the NAMES were set up? Please advise.
Katy,
Download workbook *.xlsx
katy.xlsx
Instructions excel 2007
1. Create a table
2. Go to "Insert" tab
3. Click "Line charts" button
New question  I've used these formulas successfully now on a number of graphs. Now, my data is designed horizontally, not vertically and I'm having difficulty converting the formula accordingly. I've tried using "COUNTA(sheet1!$B$2:$RXM$2)" and also changing the last two numbers from "0,13" to "13,0" to no avail. i.e. Months run across row 1 with data in rows underneath with row headers in column A. Please advise.
Another new question  I have difficulty each time I wish to automate a graph with multiple series even thought I have changed the final number in the series (i.e. 1,2,3, etc.) I have charts with stacked columns, and others with two columns with a third series line. When I attempt to change the series information on the graph, it doesn't accept it  no error, nothing, I hit enter to submit it and it just sits there and doesn't change it. Also, is there a limit to the number of names used within a single workbook? Please advise.
Max,
Oscar, in line with the questions above, I'm looking to add further columns of data for each month, e.g. Months, Numbers1, Numbers2 etc.
How do you adjust the "=SERIES(,Book3.xlsx!Months,Book3.xlsx!Numbers,1)" formula to include third, fourth and fifth columns?
Excel 2007:
Create a table
1. Select cell range
2. Click "Insert" tab
3. Click "Table" button
Create a clustered column chart
1. Select table
2. Click "Insert" tab
3. Click "Column" in charts window on the ribbon.
4. Click "Clustered Column Chart"
Oscar,
I have used your suggestions above which work as expected, but I have a slight twist on what I am trying to do...
So, firstly I am trying to create a dynamic chart with daily data being added to a column with a weekly total in the eighth row.
I am trying to chart the weekly totals only (ie every eighth row). I seem to be able to do either:
1. Chart Dynamic data
2. Chart every eighth row
But not both together :( Any suggestions? Any advice appreciated.
Missy,
Question on the NAMES and "SERIES" formulas. Should the NAMES be saved in the SCOPE of "workbook" or the specific worksheet and does that impact the "SERIES" formula? Always use the workbook name or worksheet name instead, depending on how the NAMES were set up? Please advise.
The names are Named Ranges and does NOT impact the "SERIES" formula. You have to use the full name: excelfile!Named_range in the series forumla.
Example:
Book3.xlsx!Month
Excel 2007 and 2010 users can happily create a table and then create a chart. Nothing to worry about series formulas or named ranges. And yes, I know, the blog post title says Excel 2007:How to create a dynamic chart..
Oscar, can you please help me modify the Name Ranges and SERIES formula for a table where the months (to use your example) are set up horizontally instead of vertically? I am using historical tables that go back five years or so. Changing their layout is not prudent. What I have is column headers with mmmyy, with multiple row labels of varying categories. I have made attempts by changing the range from columns $A:$A, for example, to rows $A$2:$XX$2, to no avail. Please advise.
Missy,
see this attached file:Missy.xls
Hi Oscar.
I have data similar to what you have but it's more than one row of values. how would i set up it up going across.
Example
months: jan feb mar
values: 1 2 3
values 4 5 6
Values: 7 8 9
I'm not sure how the offset formula will look like so the graph can update automatically when new data is entered. This is the offset that I have for values.
=OFFSET(sheet1!$A$162,0,1,1,COUNTA(sheet1!$162:$162)1)
Thanks!
jimmy,
I am not sure you can do that in excel 2003 and previous versions. I donยดt have excel 2003 but try to convert your data set to an excel defined list and use that list when you build your chart.
If you have excel 2007 and later versions, create an excel defined table.
Thank you Oscar. I shall try this and let you know how it turns out.
Oscar,
Thank you so so much for providing this useful information  your site has the best instructions yet.
However, I do not understand your explanation to Max's question and I have the same question: How do you adjust the "=SERIES(,Book3.xlsx!Months,Book3.xlsx!Numbers,1)" formula to include third, fourth and fifth columns?
Can you please be a little more clear and provide more formulas? Dynamic charts are very new to me and I do not understand it fully yet.
Jennifer,
You donยดt need to adjust the formula to include a third, fourth and a fifth column.
Convert your cell range into a table and then create a chart.
In excel 2007 and later versions, a table automatically adds new columns or rows and the chart is instantly updated.
I really like the idea of the dynamic chart, but it doesn't seem to work for me. I have tried changing the source data for the chart to use dynamic named ranges. However, it immediately extracts the range the name references and uses that instead of the keeping the same. What I mean is that, if the current state of the dynamically named range refers to B2:B6, then the chart sets the source data range to B2:B6 and keeps it at that setting, even when the dynamically named range changes. When I look at the source data selection again, it refers to whatever the initial state of the named range was, rather than the named range itself. Am I doing this wrong?
Thanks for any help you can offer.
Paul,
Maybe you have workbook calculation: Manual?
Change it to automatic.
Thanks Oscar, but I think figured it out. I was putting the named range into the slot that pops up with you right click on the graph and shoose "select data." The box says "Chart data range" on it. When I used that box, it always converted the named range into an absolute reference. However, when I went to edit the series (there is only one in my graph), and put the named range in the "Series values" box, it stayed as a named range and my chart updates automatically. I'm not sure why the "chart data range" box would convert a named range to an absolute reference but the "series values" box would not, but that appears to be the situation.
Thank you so much for the info on the charts.
Going back to the Katy chart example, can you convert a regular chart to one that pulls data from a table so that the data will automatically update when new lines/colums are added.
Thanks.
Fatou,
I have simplified this post. I believe it now answers your question.
Thanks for commenting!
i would like my graph to show only the most recent 12 months data. What should i do?
Icjun:
You can have your named range find the last n rows or columns in your data set. Here is an example of some code I used to define a named range:
=OFFSET(Data!$H$43,0,COUNTA(Data!$H$42:$ZZ$42)2,1,2)
This is based on the idea that there is a 2row set of data that begins at H42. The values I really want are the last two numbers in row 43. My data set sometimes has holes, so instead of counting the number of items in row 43, I count the header row (42), which I know will be filled in completely, but only up until the last month I want to use. I create a named range using the code above, and then edit a series in my graph to refer to that named range. Now, since you are dealing with the latest 12 months, you might want to have "12" instead of "2" after the COUNTA function.
Hi, thanks for providing this information  it's been a great help.
However, I am still struggling to apply the logic to my solution. My data range is made up of: Products in Column A, Months in columns B to M, values (per month per product) in the cross sections.
The Products dimesnion is the one that can grow (or shrink) in my data range. Therefore I want my dynamic chart to show whatever products appear in the data dump
I have defined products as a name. Upon testing, whenever I add a new product it appears as a series in my chart.
However, I am not sure how to display the months (and the values per month, per product) on the chart. In teh "Select data source" tab/Horizontal axix labels  I have manually selected B1:M1. However, only one month is appearing on the X axix of the chart and no data.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Many Thanks
Mike
Hi Oscar,
Going back to my question, I had created a table and used the data to create a chart. However, something happened with the chart and now it is not updating when new data is added to the table. I have multiple employee names in column A, Open and Closed Tickets for each employee in Column B and the date ranges in columns C X. I have to create an individual chart for each employee showing Open and Closed Tickets per line chart. I was trying to use the named ranges and that is not working. I believe using table and charts will be the best option but something has happened and now the chart is not updating. It has converted back to static where I will have to update it manually. It is very frustrating and time consuming to have to manually update each series for each employee. Your help is greatly appreciated!!!!
Thank you so much.
Fatou
Hi Fatou,
I was having the same problem with the chart converting named ranges to static references. My solution was to use a different named range for each series. Then, when I go to select data, I pick the particular series, edit the data for that, and enter the named range at that location. That seems to work much better than having a named range for the entire data set. The only problem is that it won't work if the number of series in your chart changes (in that case you would have to update the chart manually by adding or removing series).
icjun,
Here are some great resources:
Chart the Last 12 Months Dynamically.
Using named ranges to create dynamic charts in Excel
Mike,
Hi, thanks for providing this information  it's been a great help.
However, I am still struggling to apply the logic to my solution. My data range is made up of: Products in Column A, Months in columns B to M, values (per month per product) in the cross sections.
The Products dimesnion is the one that can grow (or shrink) in my data range. Therefore I want my dynamic chart to show whatever products appear in the data dump
I have defined products as a name. Upon testing, whenever I add a new product it appears as a series in my chart.
However, I am not sure how to display the months (and the values per month, per product) on the chart. In teh "Select data source" tab/Horizontal axix labels  I have manually selected B1:M1. However, only one month is appearing on the X axix of the chart and no data.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Many Thanks
Excel 2007 instructions
Convert data range to a table
1. Select your range (A1:M5)
2. Go to tab "Insert"
3. Click Table button
4. Click OK
Change chart data range
1. Right click on your chart
2. Click "Select data..."
3. Type =Table1 in chart data range:
Chart settings
1. Right click on chart
2. Click "Select data..."
3. Click "Switch column/row" button
4. Click Edit button in Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels window
5. Select column headers (B1:M1)
6. Click OK
7. Click OK
Download excel file
Sheet1 changes chart data range using vba. Right click on sheet1 and click view code.
Sheet2 changes chart data range using tables (no vba).
dynamicchartsvba.xlsm
Hi Oscar,
Very good and extensive instructions. Thanks alot!
Fatou,
Can you provide some sample data?
Hi Oscar,
Thank you for responding back. Here is the sample data
Column A  Employee Name
Row A2  Employee1
Row A3  Employee1
Column B  Activity
Row B2  Open Activity
Row B3  Close Activity
Column C:X  Date Range (Jan 2010Oct 2011) with additional months added
Rows C2:X3  # of tickets for each activity
Row A4  Employee2
Row A5  Employee2
Column B  Activity
Row B4  Open Activity
Row B5  Close Activity
Rows C4:X5  # of tickets for each activity
There are about 8 employees I am tracking.
The data was arranged in one table and I was trying to create a chart for each employee such that when a new month is added, I will not have to manually go in and update the chart but it will automatically update with the new month data for each employee. am creating a line chart to show each activity per employee and adding trend lines.
Thank you so much for your assistance.
Fatou
Fatou,
When I convert a cell range to a table, it automatically adds new values and the chart is immediately updated. It works here.
What is your excel version?
Did you change chart data range to the table? (See instructions above in my comment to Mike)
You can select an employee using the table filters and the chart is instantly updated.
Oscar,
Thanks for reviewing my question.
My Excel version is 2007.
Maybe my description is not very clear.
I changed the chart data range to the table and it shows me all the information in the table in one chart. However, I need to show each employee in a separate chart and have that chart update when a new month is added. In essence, I will have 8 charts updated when Nov data is added. I am using the one table to showcase all the employees. Do I need to have I need to have 8 tables for each chart in order for this to work.
Thanks!
Fatou,
read this: Excel charts: Multiple series and named ranges
Thank you so very much! It works now. I am not sure what had happened before and it took a couple of tries before I got it to work.
You have been a tremendous help and a life saver. This will definitely cut down drastically the amount of time it will take to update my reports. I appreciate it.
Merci Beaucoup.
Fatou
Oscar,
Using the Missy.xlsx example above you provided on October 17th, 2011 at 8:44 am, I'd like to know how to fix the problem when you have no data to enter for month. For example, using your missy.xlsx file, I added april and may with a value of 4 and 5 respectively. I then deleted the number 3 value under March. When I do that, the chart messes up and doesn't include May. In fact, if you add new months, the chart always leaves off the most recent mont added if you have no value in a cell. It gets worse when you have multiple months with no values. I don't want to use zero as a value since I'm using error bars, which indicate error by 1 standard deviation. If I use zero as a value, the error bars adjust to reflect the zero value. In some months I just won't have data and I need the graph so simply reflect that without dropping off the most recent month or more.
Replying to Seth, because the formula is COUNTING nonblank cells, your theory is throwing off the count. I resolved the same issue using a "" in an empty cell. It is counted because it is no longer blank, but it has no graphable value. Let me know if this helps.