How to Create a Radar Chart in Excel to Highlight Anomalies

AUTHOR:  JASON MORRELL 

Jason Morrell

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A Radar chart clearly shows any outliers in your data. If the data is within normal range, the shape will be regular. Anomalies will either spike in or spike out.

Radar Chart example: June and December rainfall between 2000 and 2017

1. How to set up your data for a radar chart

1.  Set up a table with column headings and row labels.

2.  The column labels will appear on the outer circumference of the radar chart.

3.  The row labels do not appear anywhere on the chart. They are for human reference only.

2. How to create a radar chart

Consider the following data which includes anomalies for June and December, highlighted in yellow:

Monthly rainfall data for Timbuctoo

To create a Radar chart:

1.  Select one column or one row of your data that will form the labels on your outer circumference of the Radar Chart. In the example above, the years in cells B3:S3 have been selected.

2.  Hold CTRL.

3.  Select the numerical data range which will determine the shape(s) of your Radar chart(s). In the example above, the data in B9:S9 and B15:S15 have been selected. In other words, the June row (row 6 ) and the December row (row 12).

4.  Click the Insert tab.

5.  Select the Surface or Radar chart icon in the Charts group and select Radar.

Where to find the radar chart within the list of chart types

6.  If your chart shows only a legend and a vertical line, that’s because you are working with rows of data. To fix this, on the Chart Design ribbon, click the Switch Row / Column icon.

If your data falls within a normal range, your shape will be regular.

Anomalies are clearly shown as spikes or dips.

It is always worth checking out the Chart Styles and Quick Layouts on the Chart Tools Design ribbon for different configurations.

3. Show/hide the legend

1.  On the Chart Design ribbon, click Add Chart Element then hover over Legend.

2.  If you only have a single series of data, untick the Legend to switch it off, and if you have two or more series of data, ensure the Legend is switched on.

4. Add extra data to your Radar chart.

1.  On the Chart Design ribbon, click Add Chart Element then click the Select Data icon.

2.  Go direct to the data, hold CTRL and select any additional data that you wish to use.

5. Rename the labels.

By default, each data series is called Series 1, Series 2 etc. To make them more meaningful

1.  On the Chart Design ribbon, click Add Chart Element then click the Select Data icon.

2.  Select a series from the list.

3.  Click the Edit button in the dialog.

4.  Type a new name

In the example above, each series has been renamed June rainfall and December rainfall.

6. Choose what info to include on data labels

1.  On the Chart Design ribbon, click Add Chart Element then choose More Data Label Options.

2.  Tick Value or Category.

7. What next?

Please feel free to post any questions you have into the comments below. And before you leave this page, I want to give you one quick little action item! 

ACTION ITEM: Comment below with ONE thing you picked up from this post and share how it has helped, or will help, you. It's good to share your successes because it encourages others and provides an instant boost.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell


Jason loves to simplify the hard stuff, cut the fluff and share what actually works. Things that make a difference. Things that slash hours from your daily work tasks. He runs a software training business in Queensland, Australia, lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and 4 kids and often talks about himself in the third person!

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