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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

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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 easily generate Pareto Diagrams using either your Systems2win Pareto Chart template (Pareto.xlsx)
or Trend Charts Scorecard template (Trends.xlsx)

Special features:

Histogram Chart

histogram excel chart

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

And to determine whether your data fits a normal distribution curve.

And to evaluate whether your process is capable of meeting your specifications.

How to create an Excel Histogram Chart

Usually a histogram uses continuous, rather than discrete data.

For a true histogram, use your Histogram template (Histogram.xlsx)

If your data is discrete, rather than continuous...

histogram from discrete data

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

To make your Toolpak histogram look like our example:

  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)

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 (RunChart.xlsx) is the easiest way to create a quick line chart
  2. Your Trend Charts Scorecard template (Trends.xlsx) 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 chart Your Cycle Time Observations template (ObserveCycles.xlsx) 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  (ControlChart.xlsx)

Special features:

XY Scatter Plot Diagram

Scatter Plot Excel 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.

A scatter chart is similar to a line chart, but without connecting lines between the data.

And they have different purposes.

A line chart shows trends over time.

A scatter plot shows correlations between two (or more) things.

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.

Stratification Chart

Excel Stratification Chart

How to create an Excel Scatter Chart

Use your Scatter Plot template (ScatterPlot.xlsx)

Or... to create a less capable one from scratch...

  1. Create your data similar to our sample data
  2. Select the data for your first data series, then Insert > Scatter

    in our example, the 2 columns of data for Machine 1

  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.

Stratification Chart data

Other types of Excel charts

Select Insert > Charts 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.


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

Familiar surroundings

Familiar Microsoft Excel

Use everything you know about familiar Word and Excel


More Tips for using

Excel Chart Templates

Link Data — to instantly update as your data changes

One of the most common complaints from users of MiniTab, QI Macros, and Sigma XL is that whenever data changes, you must manually update the chart.


Your Systems2win charts have special features to allow your charts to instantly change as your data changes.


Learn how

Video: How to use
special features to
Insert Sheet, and Link Data


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

Chart Direction Arrow

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

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.

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


Aligning chart bars with row heights

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

When you copy, delete, move, hide, or unhide rows, you might need to manually re-align your chart to keep the chart bars perfectly aligned with the correct rows.

Step 1) Display Chart Labels

Chart Labels dropdown list

Use the dropdown list for 'Chart Labels' to toggle between the options for the vertical axis labels that will appear on the chart.

In older versions, select the radio button: 'With Labels'.

The newest version has 3 choices:

0 = No chart labels
1 = Just the number
2 = Full chart labels

You may need to manually re-size the chart Plot Area

When toggling between options for 'Chart Labels', it will usually automatically resize the Plot Area to make room for large, small, or no chart labels.

Due to a Microsoft bug, you may need to manually re-size the width of the Plot Area.

Resize chart 1
Click on a blank area inside the body of the chart,
so that the Plot Area of the chart is selected
(as shown)
resize chart 2
Then to resize the Plot Area...
drag one of handles
(in the middle or corners)

Step 2) Re-align Chart Bars with Rows

Then (with Chart Labels displayed)...

select the entire chart (including its background area), and drag the top or bottom center handles to increase or decrease the height of the entire chart until the chart bars precisely align with the correct rows.

In the Gantt chart...

Notice that the first line is for the Total Project,the second line is blank, the third line of the chart aligns with the first task, the second-to-the-bottom line of the chart aligns with the last task, and the bottom line of the chart aligns with the gold row.

Top of Gantt Chart

In the Standard Work chart...

Notice that the first line of the chart is blank (except for the label for the process Title).

The second line aligns with the first task, and the bottom line aligns with the last task.

Machine Stop

The red dot indicates when the machine stops if the machine is still running when the next cycle begins. In order for the Machine Stop to properly align in the chart, all unused rows must remain hidden.

Standard Work Chart Top

Word Wrap

For your chart to align correctly, row heights must be consistent.

The default row height allows 2 lines of text to be displayed (using word wrap).

Standard Work Chart:

Notice that you can word wrap beyond 2 lines, but only 2 will show when you click the button to create a Chart sheet.

Gantt Chart:

If any row has more text, you might want to manually resize the row height on your Chart sheet, so that it only displays the first 2 rows of text (so that the row height is the same as all other rows).

Rather than putting more than 2 lines of text in a row, you might instead use any (or all) of the following options for long text:

  1. Refer users to see the (large) Comments textbox at the bottom of the document
  2. Use Cell Comments
  3. Use Link Icons to link to related documents

Step 3) Hide Chart Labels

In the dropdown list for 'Chart Labels', select 0 or FALSE.

You may need to manually re-size chart width (as described above).


Copy Chart

Systems2win menu > Copy Chart

Your Systems2win menu includes a special utility to 'Copy Chart' that copies a picture of your chart to the clipboard, where it can then be pasted to any other document.

(which might be Excel, 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. In the Systems2win menu, click 'Copy Chart'
  3. Paste your chart anywhere

Tip: You can use your 'Copy Chart' feature to copy ANY chart from ANY workbook.
Even workbooks that are not created from a Systems2win template

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