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How to create dynamic charts with drop-down lists in Microsoft Excel

Updated: Jun 12, 2023


It always makes quite an impression to link a chart to a drop-down list in an Excel spreadsheet.

Imagine you are building a dashboard for reporting on your company's products sales performance. Wouldn't be great to just pick a product in a drop-down list and see the data for this product only being displayed on a chart?

But there is more to it than just showing off with a fancy workbook. Such a "drop-down chart" also enables you to use a single chart to display data from multiple series of data. This makes your spreadsheet lighter and also more efficient for the users. You can, for instance, send it to your Product Managers and each of them will be able to see the reporting for their respective product without having to search for one chart among many.


Excel dynamic charts linked to drop-down list

So how can you create such a chart linked to a drop-down list?

The basic idea to create such dynamic chart is actually not to link the drop-down list to the chart itself, but to its data source.

So let's get started. It's actually pretty easy.

1) First start with a set of data


In this example the data is organized in columns so that we can create an Excel Table (see the benefits of using Excel Tables). But it could as well be organized in rows. Each column here contains the data for a different product.


Excel table

2) Add a new column to your data set


Let's call it "Chart Data source" here to make things crystal clear.


Excel table calculated column

3) Choose a cell and create the drop-down list


In our example, we take cell "J2" and create a drop-down list using the columns titles (i.e. product names) as source. If you are unfamiliar with it, see How to create a drop-down list in Excel.

4) In the new column, type the following formula


=OFFSET([@Date];;MATCH($J$2;Table2[[# Headers];[Product A]:[Product C]];0))

or if you are not a fan of Tables, you will type instead:

=OFFSET(B2;;MATCH($J$2;$C$1:$E$1;0))


Excel table with OFFSET formula

5) Now just create a chart that takes the new column as data source


Excel create chart linked to dynamic range

That's it. Now you can play with your drop-down list in J2 and see how the chart updates.


Excel drop-down chart l Download FREE template


 

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