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Drop Lines in Excel Line and Area Charts


 

Drop lines are simply lines in certain types of charts that extend from the data point down (or up) to the horizontal axis. They help the viewer to determine the X value (for example, the date) where each data point occurs. Excel offers drop lines for Line charts and Area charts; the option is disabled for other chart types.

Adding drop lines is straightforward. Double click on the series to bring up the Format Series dialog. Click on the Options tab, and check the Drop Lines checkbox. Once drop lines have been added, you can format them like any other line element in Excel. Double click on the lines, and select the line attributes you want.


Drop Lines in an Excel Line Chart


Drop Lines in an Excel Area Chart

Droplines in XY Charts

Excel does not offer drop lines for XY charts, and many users question this omission. However, Excel offers something just as good: error bars. To create drop lines for an XY chart series, double click on the series, and on the Y Error Bars tab, select Minus under Display, and under Error Amount, enter a Percentage of 100.


Drop Lines in an Excel XY Chart, using Error Bars

When you know this technique to make vertical drop lines in an XY chart, you also know how to make horizontal drop lines in an XY chart. Double click on the series, and on the X Error Bars tab, select Minus under Display, and under Error Amount, enter a Percentage of 100.


Vertical and Horizontal Drop Lines in an Excel XY Chart, using Error Bars

 

 

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