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Use a Panel Chart,
intead of using Primary and Secondary Axes

Introduction: Sometimes it's just difficult for us to see more than one line on the chart, at least it's difficult for us to focus, thus the ouput results are not delivered that well. The following notes are from the famous blog by Peltie, the original copyright strictly belong to him.



What People Really Should Use Panel Chart

It’s okay to use primary and secondary axes in the same chart, but to avoid confusion, it’s best to separate them into separate panels of the chart. This is the protocol for creating such a panel chart.

We’ll use the same data. The Primary axis is scaled from 0 to 10, and the Secondary axis from 0 to 200. We need to adjust these scales so the Primary panel is in the bottom half of the chart, and the secondary panel in the top half. If the primary panel has to be 0 to 10 in the bottom half of the chart, we need another 10 units on top, so the total primary scale should be 0 to 20. If the secondary panel has to be 0 to 200 in the top half of the chart, we need another 200 units below this, so the secondary scale should be -200 to 200.

Format the primary and secondary vertical axes according to these computations. If you use a major unit of 2 for the primary axis and of 40 for the secondary axis, both sets of labels line up with the primary horizontal gridlines.

Columns on Two Axes Data
Columns on Two Panels - Step 3
Columns on Two Panels - Step 1 Columns on Two Panels - Step 2

We don’t want to display primary axis labels in the secondary panel or secondary labels in the primary panel. We can use custom number formats to display only the desired axis labels.

In general, number formats have four elements, separated by semicolons. The first element shows the format to be used for a particular numerical situation, the second for another particular numerical situation, the third for all other numerical values, and the fourth for alphanumeric labels:

[first condition]format;[second condition]format;format;alphanumeric

If conditions are not specified, the first condition is positive numbers and the second is negative number, leaving the third for zero values.

This makes the custom number format for the secondary axis very easy:

0;;0;@

Positive numbers (first element) and zero values (third element) will be displayed as numbers with no decimal digits (i.e., “0”), negative numbers (missing second element) will not be displayed, and alphanumerics (fourth element) will be displayed as themselves (“@”). You could leave off the “@”, and alphanumeric values will also not be displayed.

The custom number format for the primary axis is not much more difficult, now that you know the system:

[<=10]0;;;@

Values less than or equal to 10 (first element) will be displayed as numbers with no decimal digits (i.e., “0”), any other values (missing second and third elements) will not be displayed, and alphanumerics (fourth element) will be displayed as themselves (“@”), or omitted if desired (omit the “@”).

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