Chart Increase at Time Interval in Excel

Here is my answer to the most recent Friday Challenge.  Would welcome any comments below on what you think (flaws, likes, thoughts…)


In case you missed it, here was the challenge:


“I have some Excel data represented like so. I’m not very good at charting so this is probably kind of simple.

Graph Increase at Time Interval Data

What is the best way to represent this data in chart form in a way so that I can indicate at what time a value increased in a certain column. For example, the increase in LTE that occurred at 599 seconds? I have done simple graphs that illustrate the sum of these values but I also need to point out when in the Time column the value increased.”


Many of my fellow Exceller’s liked an Excel conditional formatting solution.  You can check out those answers and download the files here:

Friday Challenge Answers – Graph Increase at Time Interval


My choice?


A Step Chart.  Here is what it would look like for the 4 series.


Why do I like this better than Conditional Formatting or a Clustered Column Chart?

My main reason for choosing this over the other solutions is that the Time column is in seconds.  A clustered column chart or conditional formatting wouldn’t give you the same perspective of Time.


What if we change the seconds that different categories change to a value of 1.

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Here is what it would look like with Conditional Formatting:


And what it would look like as a clustered column chart:



And with the Step Chart


I think that the step chart really shows the time difference that is not as easily visible with the other chart choices.


You can learn more about Step Charts here:

How-to Easily Create a Step Chart in Excel


How-to Create a Step Chart in Excel with 3 Quick Steps


Video Demonstration


Let me know what you think of this as the option for the Excel user in the comments below.  Thanks.


UPDATE: Pete combined our charts into a new file that you can download.  It is a 4 step charts displayed as  a panel chart.  Here is what it looks like:

Excel Time Interval Panel Step Chart

You can download the file here:




  1. Steve,
    I like your idea of using a step chart for this solution; however, I feel that your final chart is difficult to read as the lines overlap and hide each other. I feel that a combination of your and my solution would be the best. In other words, a combination step and panel chart. I have sent you an example.

    • Thanks Pete. I agree. It is hard to read as a combined chart. Your panel chart looks nice. I have uploaded your sample to the web page. Steve=True

    • A step chart would work better if it were tracking many changes, but in this case there is only a one time change. I like charts as much as the next guy, but sometimes the easy way is the best way. I still like conditional formatting.

      By the way, I started a new blog.

      • Yes, I tend to agree, but I think the user may have additional steps to 2 or more, but that is just a guess. Congrats on the new blog. I will have to visit it regularly. Thanks again. Steve=True


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