Excel allows you to create different types of charts regardless of their technical levels. The actual vs target chart is one of the most popular charts you can

easily compose with Excel. Even though most people strongly believe that the actual vs target chart is a complicated chart type that you can find difficult to create. This chart is mostly used in scenarios where you want to check whether the target has been met.

The chart is mainly used by business owners who want to evaluate the progress they are making in terms of development. It helps you to highlight major pain points that are contributing to the success of your business and what needs to be done for you to achieve your goals. Business stakeholders measure various metrics to evaluate the success of their efforts and what needs to be done for better performance.

The actual vs target chart is used in companies where particular objectives need to be met within a specific timeline. For instance, this technique can evaluate whether the actual sales value met the target value. The goal is to find meaningful information that can help stakeholders make changes within the organization that will contribute to the business’s success. Once you learn how to create this chart, you will find it easier to monitor the performance of your business and make changes where necessary.

What remains challenging is that most people believe that analyzing data in Excel is a challenging exercise requiring you to possess some technical expertise to get the job done. Even though this sounds to be true at some point, the truth is that you don’t need any form of technical expertise to navigate the process. All you need to do is gain a fair understanding of what you want to achieve and the best type of chart to help you visualize your data.

Creating the actual vs target chat is a fun and exciting exercise that requires you to undergo various steps whereby one step leads to the other until you come up with n your desired chart. This article describes the steps taken to create an actual vs target chart in Excel that represents your data and helps you uncover the insights you are looking for.

Creating an Actual vs Target Chart in Excel

There are different techniques that you can implement when you want to create an actual vs target chart using Microsoft Excel. The simplest approach that you can utilize to visualize this data is by using a stacked column chart. This is considered to be the shortest route that one can utilize to compose an actual vs target chart within a shorter period that resonates with their data. The first step is to compose an informational table containing the target and the actual value.

After presenting all your data on the table, the next step is to insert a stacked column chart. Remember that Excel gives you access to a wide range of charts and graphs you can create during data visualization. It is all about choosing your preferred chat time, and the tool will automatically create the chart on your behalf. The next step is to right-click the actual value on the informational table and click on the format data series.

An additional column will automatically appear on the other side of the screen that represents different formatting options that will help you to compose your preferred chart type. The formatting options in the provided list include the actual vs standard values, which is the most necessary aspect to focus on. Given that you have already selected the actual values on the informational table, the next step is highlighting the secondary axis.

Customize Your Chart

Once you reach this point, you will have a clear chart on your screen that requires some modification to align with your requirements. After creating the chart, you need to ensure that every aspect is customized based on requirements and that it is easier for your market audience to comprehend the information delivered. Customization revolves around making changes on the chart, including colors, title, axis labelling, and many more.

You can right-click on any value, whether actual or target, to change the color to your preferred option that reciprocates the type of data you are visualizing. Note that the customisation step is the only part that gives you the freedom to make all sorts of changes on the chart that enables you to align it with your requirements. This step does not call for any expertise since it’s all about aligning the data on the chart based on your requirements.

After you are done with the customization process, you will have a clear chart that displays all your actual and target values that can help you visualize all the changes in your data. This chat is mostly used by business owners to evaluate the results generated compared to the set target. By comparing the difference between the two values, they find it easier to identify suitable techniques and strategies that they can put in place to cover up the gap between the actual vs the target value.

The chart can be used to visualize any data provided you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve. Companies that want to enhance their productivity levels can implement this technique to help them track the changes that occur based on the efforts put in place by the stakeholders. Excel allows you to create this chart type within minutes since it automatically performs the technical work on your behalf, enabling you to achieve your objective.


Creating an actual vs target chart is a difficult exercise at the beginning if you don’t know how to navigate the whole process. The truth is that this is a simple process that only requires you to understand what you want to achieve in the end. The steps shared in this article can guide you throughout the process until you develop a complete chart communicating key data points on your behalf.

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