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    I’ve been in love with diverging stacked bar charts since I saw Joe Mako’s submission to Cole Nussbaumer’s dataviz challenge last December. Joe made this contest-winning chart. But in Tableau! The amazing but expensive software!

    Could I ever create one in Excel?!

    Yes! Luckily I’d learned about the Values in Reverse Order feature from Stephanie Evergreen. With Joe’s inspiration and Stephanie’s strategy, I started making these beauties for myself in Excel.

    I wanted to share the chart secrets with all of you, so last month, I challenged readers to re-create a diverging stacked bar chart like this one:
    Diverging stacked bar chart.

    It looks like I’m not the only one who loves diverging stacked bar charts. Congratulations to the 12 contestants! In order of submission, they are:

    Most contestants seized the opportunity to use their own datasets and made adjustments as needed. For example, Sheila’s dataset fit a traditional stacked bar chart better than a diverging stacked bar chart, and Anjie needed to display cut-off scores.

    So how do you make these diverging stacked bar charts, anyways?! There are at least two strategies: Either a) create two separate charts, a strategy demonstrated in previous posts like this one, or b) use floating bars, a strategy demonstrated in previous posts like this one. Stephanie Evergreen blogged about strategy B a few weeks ago and her explanation is pretty awesome, so I’m going to focus on strategy A today.

    Here’s a slideshow about the two-charts-in-one strategy. Enjoy!

    Bonus: Download the Materials

    Download the Excel File

    Share Your Feedback

    Nearly all of the contestants requested friendly feedback on their graphs. In most cases, contestants were trying these charts for the first time and thinking about whether or not these charts could be adapted for their datasets. What do you think?

    More about Ann K. Emery
    Ann K. Emery is a sought-after speaker who is determined to get your data out of spreadsheets and into stakeholders’ hands. Each year, she leads more than 100 workshops, webinars, and keynotes for thousands of people around the globe. Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making technical information easier to understand for non-technical audiences.

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