[Excel] How to make an area chart

Transparent areas not only make the chart cleaner and lighter it also helps differentiating between overlapping and stacked areas.

Area chart in Excel
Area chart in Excel.

Design notes

  • Area charts display an outline all around the area, while in most cases you’ll only want the outline at the top. A solution is to add the series twice, setting one as area chart ant the other as line chart. Disable the outline for the area series.
  • It’s not always obvious when the areas overlap or are stacked. Lines and transparencies help minimizing this issue.
  • The suggested guidelines for area and bar charts regarding the y-axis are similar: start the scale at zero.
  • Instead of a legend, add label to one data point and place the label inside the area.