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Area Charts in Excel

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Prerita Agarwal
Data Specialist @
23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


Charts are used in Microsoft Excel to provide a graphical representation of any data set. A chart represents data that uses symbols such as lines in a line chart or bars in a bar chart to represent the data.

Area charts are very much similar to line charts, except that the area below the lines is filled in, or we can say that the area chart is a line chart with color-filled areas below the lines. To visualize the contribution of each item to total overtime, use stacked area charts in excel.

The area charts in Excel are one of the few charts that can graphically display data. It's usually plotted to highlight the data that shows the Time-series relationship. This blog provides a basic overview of the Area Chart, including its types and examples in Excel. Let's look at the topic now to learn more about it.

Understanding Area Chart

An area chart is a data visualization feature of Microsoft Excel that displays the rate of change of one or more variables over a specified time period. It usually helps measure trends in various data sets over time by utilizing colors to fill in the space between the x-axis and the line segments. In brief, an area chart is a line chart with color-filled areas beneath the lines.

The chart may display a different color in the area between two consecutive line segments when working with several line segments. The area chart, which is a type of line chart, emphasizes the "gaps" between the data and the axis and is typically used to compare data sets.

The area chart can be viewed in two different ways:

  • The Data Plots overlapping each other
  • The Data Plots stacked on each other


We will take the example of ‘Mark Distribution’’ and will see the data in various formats of charts in Excel.

Data Representation

So, how do we make an area chart from a data set? The steps below will show you how to create an area chart. For this chart, we'll use the data from the sample spreadsheet. You can either copy or create your data in your worksheet.

1. Select the range A1:E5.

2. On the 'Insert tab', go to the 'Charts group', and then we will click on the Area symbol.


There are three types of in-built charts available(in 2-D Area Chart in Excel):



Representing in Area Chart

Simple Area Chart (2D)

If we use the above data to make an area chart, we might end up with something like this (where we have plotted four types of data: Mid-Sem, TA, End-Sem and Total Marks, but we only see two colors). Here the data overlap each other.

When we have two datasets, this regular 2-D area chart is more suited (an overall data set and a subset).

Stacked Area Chart (2D)

It is the best way possible to represent the above data taken by us.

100% Stacked Area Chart (2D)

Representing data in Line Chart

Here, we represented the stacked area chart into the stacked line chart for a clear and distinct view.

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Uses of Area Charts

Some of the most common applications for area charts include:

  • Comparing data to summarise results quickly: Area charts come in handy when dealing with discrete time-series data. The relationship between each set of data and the rest of the data must be displayed or aggregated. Assume we have information on some students and their grades in various subjects throughout the year. We wish to analyze the data and report the findings to see how strong each student is in a certain subject. We may determine each student's strengths by looking at the subject's largest volume part on the plotted chart.
  • Collective Data Analysis: Area charts are also used during collective data analysis. By combining the relevant data points, charts assist in the incorporation of a sense of volume into our data. It's also helpful to think of the data points as the area of a single line segment rather than separate data points' line segments.
  • Trend Analysis: Since the area chart is usually displayed in two axes, X and Y, and it's usually used to show a trend with magnitude rather than individual data values. The area chart aids in the analysis of each group's performance, both collectively and individually.

Advantages of Area Charts

The following are some of the benefits of using the Area Charts in Excel:

  • We can easily display the trend followed by each specific product in different categories using the Area Charts in Excel.
  • The Area Chart's overlapped data can also be read, which aids in understanding the analysis. This is made feasible by using various colors and suitably specified values.
  • Compared to the overlapped data, the Stacked Area in the Area Chart is straightforward to read and understand. On the other hand, reading takes more effort than reading a two-category chart.

Disadvantages of Area Charts

The following are some of the cons of using the Area Charts in Excel:

  • Depending on the complexity of the supplied data, understanding the chart and reading its data effectively to get proper overcome can be challenging at times.
  • We must read the various plots to compare to get the value or data of a plotted area chart. Many people are unfamiliar with comparing different plots inside the same chart.


1. What is meant by charts in Excel?

Excel's most basic technique of visualizing data is through charts. They provide a variety of graphic representations of your data to make it easier to understand.

Excel's more complex capabilities and business intelligence suite also provide other techniques to find data relationships.

Charts in Excel are a visual tool to see trends in your worksheet's data.


2. Define Area charts in Excel. 

An area chart is a Microsoft Excel data visualization feature that shows the rate of change of one or more variables over a specific time period. Colors are used to fill in the area between the x-axis and the line segments, which aids in the measurement of trends in diverse data sets across time. Line charts with color-filled areas beneath the lines are known as area charts in Excel.


3. What are the uses of area charts?

We use area charts in Excel in the following ways:

  • Trend Analysis
  • Collective Data Analysis
  • Comparing Data to quickly summarise results


4. Define Simple Area Chart, Stacked Area Chart and 100% Stacked Area Chart in Excel.

Simple Area Chart: The colored segments of effective chart regions overlap in a Simple Area Chart. Here, the data is drawn on top of one another, causing colored areas of the graph to intersect.

Stacked Area Chart: This is the type of area chart in which the data plots are displayed by combining the data groups such that they become an extension of one another. Upon putting it in another way, the colored segments (data plots) are stacked on top of each other.

100% Stacked Area Chart: Excel's 100% stacked area chart is a more advanced version of the stacked area chart. It's almost identical to a stacked area chart, with one key difference: in a 100% stacked area chart, the vertical axis scale is expressed as a percentage of the total data. Here, the area segment often takes up the whole chart space.


5. List down the components of the area chart.

The components of the area chart are-

  • Plot Area
  • Chart Title
  • Horizontal Axis
  • Vertical Axis
  • Legend

Key Takeaways

In this blog, we learned about the concepts of area charts in Excel. Refer here to learn more about chartsline chartsbar charts and pie charts in Excel.

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Topics covered
Understanding Area Chart
Data Representation
Representing in Area Chart
Simple Area Chart (2D)
Stacked Area Chart (2D)
100% Stacked Area Chart (2D)
Representing data in Line Chart
Uses of Area Charts
Advantages of Area Charts
Disadvantages of Area Charts
Key Takeaways