A Slope Chart is a relatively simple visualisation which shows changes in categorical data, such as the effect of an intervention:

Before / After Slope Chart

Other common uses include showing how rankings change over a period (although remember that for a team to appear at the top of the chart, the source data will need to, e.g., score the 1st place team as “10” and the 10th place team as “1”).

Change in Rankings Slope Chart

Notice that in both the examples, it is the relative change in magnitude or position that matters more than the absolute values. This makes it quite an effective visualisation.

Creating a Slope Chart is simple using QuickChart – just select the table of values and each row will become a line on the chart. Each column of data will become another point on the line.

Creating a Slope Chart

Settings

The Settings dialog box for Slope Charts is accessible through the Slope Chart drop-down menu on the Excel Ribbon.

Slope Chart Settings

All of the settings affect an aspect of formatting:

  • Start Point Labels – Whether the left-most point has the series name and/or the value in its label
  • Mid Point Labels – Whether any intermediate points have the value shown
  • End Point Labels – Whether the right-most point has the series name and/or value in its label
  • Show Y-Axis – You can choose to show the Y-axis to give an indication of absolute values on the chart
  • Show Axis Titles – These aren’t usually required on Slope Charts but you may prefer to have them.
  • Show Legend – As an alternative to labelling the points with the series name you can use the legend instead (although it becomes more like a conventional line chart).
  • Label Size – What font size is used for the point labels?
  • Series Colours:
    • Standard – Just use the template colours
    • Directional – If lines go up they will be coloured using the template positive colour, if they go down they will use the negative colour (this won’t change automatically with changing data)
    • Neutral – All the lines will be rendered in the template neutral colour which can be useful if you want to manually highlight a single line by recolouring it.
Slope Chart with Directional Series Colours and Y-axis
Slope Chart with Neutral Colours and One Series Highlighted