Excel 2003 :: Filter Data In Graph / Chart (without Having To Create New Chart)

Dec 29, 2011

I have a spreadsheet created in Excel 2003 (which is what we use at work, unfortunately).

My employees periodically take a test to ensure they have certain items memorized (or are making progress to that end). The spreadsheet rows show all 46 of my employees, and their test scores. The columns are the dates that the tests are administered. I can create a line graph based on the chart data, and interpolate these data with no problems.

The problem is that there are 46 employees! 46 lines on the same graph make for a very cluttered, hard to understand visual. I want to simplify the view by "filtering out" some of the data.

I have an additional column in my spreadsheet for each employee's work area (Area 1, Area 2, etc), and another column with data based on first letter of last name (the values here could be "A-G", "H-M", "N-S" and "T-Z", for example). I figure i could filter my line graph based on these two columns. For example, somehow select just Area 1, and reduce the number of lines on the graph to 16. Or better yet, Choose "Area 2" AND "A-M" and end up with 7 employees (and therefore 7 lines on the graph).

Here's what i have tried:

1) Select the work area column, and use the Filter, which created a drop-down list at the column heading. When i use this drop-down list, i can easily filter the data in the worksheet by Work Area, but this is not reflected in the line graph, which still shows all 46 lines. The problem was that i forgot that i had set the Calculation Options to "Manual". Setting this to "Automatic" (or leaving it on Manual and pressing F9) solved the problem, as the chart now updates when i use the filters. Calculation options are under the "Formula" tab in 2007, or in Tools -> Options -> [either calculation or formula, i forget what it's called] in 2003.

2) Create several separate line graphs in several separate sheets. I wouldn't want to assign someone else the task of maintaining a spreadsheet of such inefficient design.

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To plot this data by itself requires a Scatter Chart.

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However, I suspect this could be done if I build a Stock Chart from scratch using a Scatter Chart.

Error bars can be used to make the tails, however, I don't know how they built the body bar which has the characteristics of a bar (border, and interior.)

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For each data set, I need the ability to generate meaningful plots that includes separate series based on the criteria I have described. However, I also need to retain the ability to resort the data or change the comparator value without disrupting these plots. In other words, the plots must NOT change when the order of the data is changed, but MUST change to display the appropriate data when the comparator changes.

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Once I have this working for one data set, I need to be able to port it to other data sets (which are contained in other workbooks), so that I can compare equivalent plots from each. I also need to minimize the number of manual steps involved in doing so, to avoid human errors and excessive time consumption.

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