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Excel Charts

A powerful way to extend the usefulness of your Excel templates

Add your own charts

One of the huge benefits of being written in native Microsoft Excel
is that you can add any type of Excel chart anywhere in any Systems2win Excel template

Types of Excel chart templates

The most popular types of charts for Lean Six Sigma are:

Pareto Chart

Purpose: to identify the 20% of problems causing 80% of your headaches —
so that you can focus your team's attention to solving the few problems that will yield the greatest benefit.

Pareto Chart

The Pareto Chart requires some sophisticated programming,
and is therefore not offered as a standard Excel chart.

How to create an Excel Pareto Chart

You can use either the Systems2win Pareto Chart template
or Trend Charts Scorecard template to easily generate Pareto Diagrams.

Special features:

Histogram Chart

Purpose: to graphically illustrate the probability distribution of something happening.


The Histogram also requires some sophisticated programming,
and is therefore not offered as a standard Excel chart.

How to create an Excel Histogram Chart

Here is a link to Microsoft's training for how to create a Histogram
using the free Data Analysis Toolpak.

To make your histogram look like ours:

  1. Get rid of the Legend (right-click the Legend > Clear)
  2. Change the background color to white
    (right-click the Plot Area > Format Plot Area > select the color white)
  3. Get rid of the gaps between bars
    (right-click a bar > Format Data Series > Options tab > Gap Width = 0)

Your histogram will be created on a new worksheet.

You can simply copy and paste your chart to the same worksheet that contains your source data.

And you can optionally link to your source data
so your chart instantly changes every time that your data changes.

If your data is continuous (rather than discrete)
then there is also another free download to create a Histogram that is better for continuous data.

Run Chart trend analysis

Run Chart Excel template

also known as Excel Line Chart

Purpose: to analyze data over time.

You're looking for trends and patterns over time in the variability of a process. Things to look for include:

  1. Long "runs" of data points above or below the standard, average, or median
  2. The total number of such runs in the data set
  3. Extended trends — up or down
Trend Charts template

Your Systems2win templates come with 3 types of run chart templates:

  1. Your Run Chart template

    is the easiest way to create a quick line chart

  2. Your Trend Charts Scorecard template

    is the best choice when you want a clean system to
    organize, archive, and analyze your data
    in ways far more useful than one little run chart
    that only has a few days of historical data.

  3. Cycle Time run chartYour Cycle Time Observations template

    has special features to make it as easy as possible
    to observe process cycle times

How to create an Excel Run Chart

It is far easier to use one of your Systems2win templates (above),
or you can create a rudimentary one on your own.

Run Chart data


  1. Create your data
    similar to our sample data
  2. Select your data, then Insert > Chart > Line Chart

You can optionally format your Chart Area, Plot Area, each Axis, each Data Series, and other Chart Options by right-clicking them.

Control Charts

aka Statistical Process Control SPC Charts, Shewhart charts, quality control charts

Control Chart template

Purpose: To determine whether a process is in a stable state of control.

Statistical Process Control Charts perform the same purpose as a simple run chart,
but with additional lines for upper and lower control limits.

Control Charts require sophisticated programming,
and are therefore not included within standard Microsoft Excel.

How to create an Excel Control Chart

Use your Systems2win Control Chart template.

Special features:

XY Scatter Plot Diagram

Stratification Chart

Excel Stratification Chart

Purpose: to analyze the relationship between two sets of data

For example, the relationship between the inputs to a process
and the resulting outputs from that process.

This Microsoft article explains the
differences between a scatter plot and a line chart
and when to use each.

One common use of a scatter diagram is the Stratification Diagram to make patterns visible when data is coming from a wide variety of sources. Learn more.

How to create an Excel Scatter Chart

Stratification Chart data
  1. Create your data
    similar to our sample data
  2. Select the data for your first data series
    (in our example, the 2 columns of data for Machine 1), then Insert > Chart > XY (Scatter)
  3. If you have multiple sets of data, then Add Series
    to define each of your additional sets of data

You can optionally format your Chart Area, Plot Area,
each Axis, each Data Series, and other Chart Options
by right-clicking them.

Other types of Excel charts

Select Insert > Chart and look around. Experiment.
Play with the many types of charts that comes as a standard feature of Microsoft Excel.

There are also dozens of free add-ins for additional types of charts — including:

More training for how to create and use Excel Charts

Excellent training is available as part of Excel's standard Help. CTRL+F1

and a quick Internet search will find hundreds of excellent tutorials and videos
for how to create any type of Excel chart.

Bookmark = tips

More Tips for using

Chart Direction Arrow

Excel Chart Templates

Chart Direction Arrow

Use a Chart Direction Arrow
to indicate the desired direction of performance.

You can copy Chart Direction Arrows
from the palette of standard Systems2win shapes.
Systems2win menu > Copy Shapes

Hidden data

You can set your charts to include hidden data — or not.

Right-click the chart > Select Data > Hidden and Empty Cells > Show Data in Hidden Rows and Columns

(Office 2003: Tools > Options > Chart > Plot Visible Cells Only)

Selecting what you want within a chart

You can optionally format your Chart Area, Plot Area, each Axis, each Data Series, and other Chart Options
by right-clicking them.

It is not uncommon to need to experiment with right-clicking in several places before finding the menu you're looking for.

It is sometimes easier to use the Chart tools menu, which appears above your Ribbon menu when you click
anywhere on a chart.

(Excel 97-2003: Chart menu, which appears in your Command Bar at the top of the page when you click anywhere on a chart.)

To select the entire chart, hold down the CTRL key as you left-click anywhere on the chart.

Bookmark = align

Aligning chart bars with row heights

When using the Gantt Chart or Standard Work Combination Sheet...

to precisely line up the chart bars with their corresponding rows
(which are slightly different sizes in different versions of Excel)
click the radio button With Labels, and then select the entire chart (including its grey background area), and drag the top and bottom center handles to increase or decrease the height of the entire chart until the rows line up precisely.

How to manually re-align charts in Excel 2007+

When toggling between the With Labels and Without Labels radio buttons in Excel 2007+, you may need to manually re-size the width of the chart

Resize chart 1

Click on a blank area inside the body of the chart,
so that the entire body of the chart is selected
(as shown)

  resize chart 2

Then to resize the chart...
drag one of the square handles (in the middle),
or one of the round circles (in each corner)

Bookmark = copy

Copy Chart

Copy Chart button

button to copy Excel Charts

Some Systems2win templates have a special Copy Chart button
that copies a picture of a chart to the clipboard,
where it can then be pasted to any other document.
(including Word, PowerPoint, etc.)


  1. Select the chart you want to copy
    (hold the CTRL key as you left-click to select the entire chart)
  2. Select the Copy Chart button
  3. Paste your chart anywhere

Even without the button

Although it is an undocumented feature,
you can actually use this same function to copy any chart from any Excel workbook.
(including your non-Systems2win Excel workbooks)

Copy Chart


  1. Select the chart you want to copy
  2. Select ALT+F8 to bring up the Macro window
  3. Type "S2W_CopyChart"
  4. Select the Run button


Don't skip the Initial Training

When you learn one,
you've learned them all

If you ever get stuck in Excel...

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