How to create a word chart

A while ago now, I posted a blog on how to create a dollar chart.  I’ve had a few requests since then along similar themes and thought I’d post one in particular: a word chart.

word chart

The principle is the same as the dollar chart.  You simply plot the total amount of your stacked chart on the secondary axis and then paste a picture (with the appropriate shape cut out) onto that series.  (If you need more detail on how to do this, check out the dollar chart link above).  With word charts, you obviously have to use a stacked bar chart rather than a stacked column, but that is the ONLY difference.

If you are interested, you can download the *.xlsx file I used this time here. Obviously the more complicated your shape, (or word) the harder it is to read the data. Of course if you are only plotting one series, then it’s much easier to read!

word chart single series

Please note: The font I’ve used to create the cut-out shape is italicized in design.  This makes it even harder to read the values!  Best case would be to have a font that is squarish.  Remove the space between the letters and you can create a great cut-out shape.

I used inkscape as usual to create the shapes and saved it as an *.emf file which can then be imported and used in Excel.  To make the white cut-out visible, I’ve given it a red fill in Excel – normally that isn’t there:

red fill

I’ve really enjoyed hearing how others have used this technique in their charts, so don’t hesitate to put a comment below to let me know what you think!


+Alesandra Blakeston


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