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Excel Video 116 walks through the steps to create a thermometer chart. Thermometers don’t show trends, but are a good visual way to track a single variable, like progressing toward a goal. This video went a little longer than most Excel Videos since I tried to show all of the steps in one video and there are a bunch of things to remove from the column chart to turn it into a thermometer. I’ve seen thermometer charts that add a red oval shape to the bottom of the chart to represent the bulb of a thermometer. You can insert an oval if you’d like. The challenge is that every time you resize the chart, the chart automatically adjusts to the new size but you’ll need to manually adjust the size of the oval each time the chart changes.
You might find it helpful to add descriptive text next to the dashboard with milestones like “abstract charts” that mean more than the vertical axis showing percentage complete. Finally, I left the cell that the thermometers are referencing on the same spreadsheet tab with the thermometer to make my example easier to understand. If I was working on a dashboard to present to physicians, I’d put the reference cell on a data tab, separate from the thermometer on the dashboard.