Microsoft Excel Charting Survey

Microsoft is conducting a survey to help plan new charting features for future versions of Excel. This is your chance to provide your thoughts and feedback. Here is the announcement from the Excel Team:

This survey is being conducted by the Microsoft Excel team. In the future, new charting features will be added to Excel. We want to better understand how you expect charts, that have new features, to be displayed and behave in older versions of Excel that don’t have these new features.

This survey will take approximately 10 minutes. Feedback from this survey will be used to improve the user experience in Excel. Responses to this survey will not be associated with any personal information. Please see the Microsoft Privacy Statement for further privacy details on all Microsoft products.

Thank you for participating,
Excel Team

Click for the Microsoft Excel Chart Survey

[NOTE: The survey has been closed]


Peltier Tech Charts for Excel


  1. I have to block off some time to think about this. So many things I with I had in charting.
    I’m glad they’re asking. One thing is for sure: If I have to give up backwards compatibility to get new features, I can live with it.

  2. My answers generally consisted of “Get Jon Peltier to code up a vba addin that users can install to overcome backwards compatibility issues”

  3. Many questions show that their thinking is often just too complex. Just choose one simple solution to deal with all legacy charts, such as: static image ABOVE fully functioning chart that has been stripped of all unsupported elements — and they’re done. Maybe add a little icon in the corner to indicate this and to easily switch to/fro between these two versions of the chart (a click on it simply sends the currend front chart version to the back). That way, viewers will see exactly what they need to see, and chart creators will still be able to adapt the chart. All without a lot of code changes.

  4. Hi Andreas –

    The problem is that stripping the future version features from a chart by an older version of Excel permanently strips those features from the chart. The infrastructure that would enable earlier versions to display a partially functional chart, and keep the advanced functions when reopened in the latest version, would be horrifically convoluted.

  5. Hi Jon, exactly: I don’t think they should try to keep the advanced functions when modifying the old file, but just strip them. The user will get the usual warning that some functionality will be lost, but there’s no way around that anyway, I guess.

  6. If I had added that extra functionality and distributed the file, I would hate getting the file back with that functionality removed. The user without the functionality in their version of Excel wouldn’t care, or even know, but I would think twice before sending other users an unprotected workbook again. Better that the user not be able to break features in the original workbook.

  7. Not that they asked…

    – Improve date formatting of axes in pivot charts
    – Don’t wipe pivot chart formats when data is updated
    – Improve the object model in VBA… haven’t checked in 2016 since my employer sticks with 2013, but not being able to modify marker outline widths without also changing the line widths between the markers is annoying – or was it vice versa, I haven’t tried in so long.
    – If you have dates as an axis, show min/max options as dates. I hate having to get the integer equivalent.
    – set your own themes for charts. We have branded RGB colors for our company and it would be nice to be able to pick that as a theme and have chart colors follow our corporate options. Even better, be able to pick one of our colors for a series and have the tint options be a gradient for different points of the series.
    – In 2013 if you want to change the chart type of a series to something else you have to choose a series, any series, before the dropdown gives you the dropdowns. This should be the default when you click on the graph – fine if you want to check all the series boxes as a default option.

    There’s probably more, but if default Excel charting is 2nd-grade gym class and Jon Peltier’s site is advanced yoga, at some point we can’t expect Excel to figure out which of umpteen poses we want for a chart and have to do it ourselves.

  8. GMF –
    I can’t address all of your suggestions, but I have a few points.
    – You can make a regular chart from a pivot table to get better date formatting. The new chart is still linked to the pivot data, but it won’t adapt to a changing pivot table layout.
    – Excel 2016 still does not distinguish between marker border formatting and series line formatting, but Microsoft at least knows about it, because I keep bringing it up.
    – In a date axis of a line chart, the axis scale parameters are displayed as dates. I expect versions of Excel to have this capability for all axes.
    – You can design a custom Theme, or even just a custom color scheme, which Excel will apply to all elements, including charts (Page Layout tab > Themes group).
    – In the Change Chart Type dialog in Excel 2013 and 2016, the Combo item at the bottom provides the means to change each series individually, even if no series was initially selected when the dialog appeared. I never noticed that until a week or two ago.

  9. The survey showed us nothing we can’t already do through workarounds and macros. MS needs to build that conversion functionality into the new roll-out of Excel.

  10. The survey was not about any new charting features. It was about the best way to deal with someone opening a workbook with “some” new charting features in an older version of Excel that does not support these features.

  11. Best excel tidbit I have used in 20 years

    Thanks so much. :-)

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