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Today’s author: Scott Ruble, the program manager who leads the charting and visualization efforts in Excel. Scott is looking for some feedback on potential changes to data bar behaviour.
Excel 2007 has a conditional formatting feature that graphically displays bars in a cell to represent the value of the cell. This feature is called Data Bars. You can see an example of this by using the following steps:
You should get something that looks like the following.
For future releases of Excel, we are assessing making some modifications to how Data Bars are displayed, and we would like to get some feedback from the community.For each of the four sample data sets below, please leave a comment and describe how you would like to see the bars displayed. Please consider things such as bar length, differentiation between the bars, color, fill and other aspects you feel are important. For bar length, you can represent this by typing vertical bars in the blog comments to represent each unit of length. For example, using the 1, 2, 3 data set from above, this could be shown as:
Or you can just describe your thoughts using words – whatever makes the most sense. Thanks for your time and thoughts.
Scenario 1 – data values contain a zero
Scenario 2 – data values are spaced far apart
Scenario 3 – data values are closely spaced
Scenario 4 – data values contain a negative number
If you format the cells with the data at 90 degrees orientation then have the data bars flow with this orientation. In other words, have the data bars go up and down instead of from left to right. This will allow applications to run without adding any charts to the spreadsheet. This will also allow applications to run more easily without any vba code. Remember, the best program is no program.
I completely agree with Olivier's perspective on chart junk, but he is asking too much of Microsoft. If enough customers want eye candy then sell them eye candy. If some people do not know how to draw without using every single crayon in the box, it is not the crayons' fault.
I'm currently trying to use conditional formatting to compare two columns to show for each row which of the two values is greater - so for September did the company have more income or expenditure and so on for the rest of the year. I can only have this by selecting the rule set for each row individually. Even AutoFill - Fill Formatting Only - turns it into a comparison between all and its not possible to use F4 or Redo to reapply the conditional rule. What I really want it to do is compare the two columns - but shade the cell relative to the whole table. So if the values are
then the 1000 should be a deeper shade than the 900.