Friday, December 26, 2008

Dial / Gauge / Speedometer Chart

Many of you are no doubt aware that this is far from an original concept. Just google "Excel dial chart" or "Excel gauge chart" or "Excel speedometer chart" and you'll see the legions of others before me -- Jon Peltier, Andy Pope, Bill Jelen, to name some major influences on me -- who have done their own versions of this type of chart. Some even have released handy add-ins so that non-power users can easily create these charts for themselves. Nonetheless, I thought it'd be fun to put my own stamp on this type of chart and let my Insiders subscribers play with it. Here's a shot of the chart:

Users will be able to change it's size, scale, start and stop angles, show or hide major and minor gauge marks and add one or two "red zone" regions for the chart, among other features.

Have fun with it.




Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

You'll notice that I no longer host such a chart on my web site. I first wrote about them as a hoot, to demonstrate what could be done with the flexible Excel chart machine.

But these charts are terribly inefficient. They show one data value, when a line chart taking up half the space can show the trend of this value over a period of time. There is no context, other than perhaps a colored arc.

These charts are very popular because of a misunderstanding that a dashboard report should resemble the cockpit of a jet airliner.

It's best not to encourage amateur reporters with instructions and automated tools for building such poor display elements.

Excel_Geek said...

Thanks for chiming in, Mr. Peltier, even though your comment is a bit of a downer. I do agree that these charts are inefficient compared to most other types; however, sometimes we "amateur reporters" choose to utilize such charts despite their informational shortcomings and the advice of "pros" like you. ;) What can I say? Sometimes aesthetics and other factors like uninformed preference matter, I guess.

I do appreciate you stopping by, and suggest to my readers that they check out your charting tips and tricks at



El Niño Treviño said...

Guages are not all bad. There are times where the trend is already known and we need a status report. I am glad I got to Mr. Peltier's site before he took it down. In the area of Reservoir Operations, during the flood season, we already know what the trend is, the reservoirs are filling up. With the use of web queries to pull the latest data, the gauge format allows me to display all 11 projects on a single sheet of paper, and immediately see which reservoirs are into their respective flood pools, through the use of the gauge. In addition to the gauges, I also present the data in a tabular format, but the guages typically get the first look.

BeGraphic said... gives you FOR FREE 3 types of new graphics inside Excel and PowerPoint (from version 2000 to 2010 64bit) :

Speedometer : new types of charts for showing performance, known as gauges and meters
(An example is shown in the following video on Youtube :

thematic maps, also called choropleth maps
(you can even receive 10 000 maps for free if you send them this request using your business email)

the largest collection of sparklines / in-cell graphics
(No other software has such a range of micro-charts)