by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 11, 2020)
Stephe created a chart and, by using 'Format Axis/Scale,' limited the y-axis to show only the range from 400 to 450. This accentuates variation that would be almost invisible if his chart included the entire range from zero. He notes that this technique has a potential for misleading by exaggeration (whether deliberate or not). Therefore, there is a convention that a zig-zag should be inserted at the bottom of the y-axis to highlight the fact that a 'false zero' is being employed. Stephe wonders if there is a way to add this notation to an Excel chart.
There is not a way to add this indicator automatically. That means you could add one manually, by creating a small graphic with the symbol and then inserting the graphic at the appropriate place on the chart.
There are other approaches that could be used; some of the ideas from these websites may help:
Another approach might be to combine two charts based on different ranges of your data set. Follow these general steps:
The benefit to this approach is that all your data is visible, a perception of skewing is eliminated, and people can still see the detail that you desire.
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