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How to Create a Step Chart in Excel?

Listen to this audio for a clear view of this article.

Step Chart – A step chart in Excel is a type of chart that displays data in a step-like manner, where vertical and horizontal lines connect the data points. The chart is commonly used to show changes in data over time or compare different data sets. Connecting data points create step charts with vertical and horizontal lines. The horizontal line represents the value of the previous data point until the next data point is reached. The vertical line connects the previous horizontal line to the new data point. In this article, you have various types to create a Step Chart in Excel.

Create a Step Chart in Excel with Kutools

Kutools – Kutools is an add-in for Microsoft Excel that provides additional features and tools to help users increase their productivity and efficiency while working with Excel.

You can create a step chart by using Kutools in Excel as follows,

  • You have to select the table of data.
  • On the Kutools tab, Select the Charts option, and choose the Step Chart option from the menu.
  • It will open the Step Chart dialog box. In that box, you must give inputs for Horizontal (Category) Access Labels and Series values options.
  • Then, click the OK button.
  • When you click on the OK button, it will display the chart.


If you want to see the preview of the Step Chart for your quick reference, then you can use this sample option in the dialog box.


Create a Step Chart in Excel without using Kutools

To create a step chart in Excel, you can follow these steps:

  • Select the data range you want to plot in the chart.
Data range
  • Click the Insert tab on the ribbon.
  • Click on the “Line” chart type and select “Line with Markers“.
Insert > Line (Chart type) > Line with Markers
  • Right-click on the chart and select “Select Data“.
  • Click “Add” to add a new data series.
Right click > Select Data option
  • Select the data range for the horizontal axis labels.
Horizontal axis Labels
  • Format the chart as desired, like Chart Title, Chart area, Horizontal (Category)Axis Legend, Plot Area, Vertical (Value) Axis, Vertical (Value) Axis Major Gridlines, Series, etc.
Formatting options
  • Once you have created the step chart, you can customize it by adding titles, legends, and other elements.
  • Formatting the Chart Title as Salary Growth.
Chart Title
  • Formatting the Chart Area with your desired color.
Chart Area
  • Formatting the Horizontal Axis as Salary.
Horizontal Axis
  • Formatting the Vertical Axis as Year.
Vertical Axis
  • After customizing all the formats that you want in your desired choice. The output will be as shown in the image given below,
Step Chart Output

Advantages of using Step Chart

The advantages of using a step chart include the following:

  • Emphasizes changes: The steps in a step chart emphasize changes in data, making it easier to identify key data points and trends. It can be particularly useful for identifying patterns in data over time.
  • Shows discontinuities: The step chart is particularly effective at highlighting discontinuities or abrupt changes in data. It can be useful in cases where the data changes step-wise rather than gradually over time.
  • Efficient use of space: The step chart is a space-efficient visualization that can fit a large amount of data in a small area. It makes it useful for presenting data in reports or other documents where space is limited.
  • Easy to create: Step charts are easy to create using most data visualization software, such as Excel or Tableau. It makes them a convenient tool for data analysts and others who need to create simple visualizations of their data quickly.
  • Clarity: The step chart is a simple and clear visualization that is easy to read and understand. It can help highlight data’s progression over time, making it a useful tool for tracking trends or progress.

Disadvantages of using Step Chart

The disadvantages of using a step chart include the following:

  • Less precise than other charts: The step chart is not as precise as other charts, such as a scatter plot or a bar chart. The steps in a step chart can obscure some of the data’s details.
  • Limited aesthetic appeal: The step chart may not be as visually appealing as other charts, such as a line or bar chart. It can be a disadvantage if you are trying to create a visually compelling visualization of your data.
  • Limited use for continuous data: The step chart may not be the best choice for displaying continuous data. It can create visual artifacts or illusions that make the data more difficult to interpret. In these cases, a line chart may be a better choice.
  • Can be misleading: The step chart can sometimes be misleading, as the steps can create the illusion of a continuous trend, even when the data is changing in a step-wise fashion. It can lead to misinterpretations of the data.
  • Limited use for small data sets: The step chart may not be the best choice for small data sets, as it can create a chart that is too sparse or difficult to read.


In this article, a step chart in Excel is a useful tool for visualizing data that changes over time and has discrete values. It is particularly effective for showing trends and patterns in data that are not immediately apparent in a traditional line chart. To create a step chart in Excel, follow the steps of selecting data, inserting a chart, and then formatting the chart to display the data as a step chart. Using a step chart, you can highlight changes in your data more effectively and provide a clear picture of your data’s movement over time.

Video Tutorial

Here is a clear video demonstration to create a Step Chart in Excel for better understanding.

How to Create a Step Chart in Excel?


What is a Step chart?

A step chart is a type of chart that is commonly used to display data that changes gradually over time. It is made up of a series of steps or horizontal lines that connect data points.

When should I use a step chart?

It would be best to use a step chart when you want to show the progression of a value over time or over a series of events where the changes are gradual or incremental rather than continuous.

How do I create a step chart?

You can create a step chart in most data visualization software or tools like Excel, Google Sheets, or Tableau. First, organize your data in columns or rows. Then, select the data range and choose the “Step Chart” option from the chart menu.

What are some best practices for using a step chart?

Some best practices for using a step chart include labeling the x and y-axis clearly, using color and other visual cues to highlight key data points or trends, and ensuring that the chart is appropriately scaled and easy to read. It is also important to consider the audience and what they will use the chart to ensure that it effectively communicates the information they need.


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