How to Create a Thermometer Chart in Excel

In this Excel tutorial, you will learn how to create a chart that looks like a thermometer. For this type of graph, you will want to present data that shows the percentage of a value (e.g., the annual plan for sales or budget usage).

A thermometer chart, also known as a “gauge chart” is a type of chart in Microsoft Excel that represents a single value within a range of values, using a thermometer-style visual. The chart can be used to visually track a goal, such as a sales target, and compare it to actual results.

Data preparation

To create a thermometer goal chart in Excel, you need data. Prepare the data. You will need two cells: one for the current value and one for the target value.
Thermometer Chart Table

Select the cell with the percentage.

Creating thermometer chart

On the Insert tab, in the Charts group, click Column and select the Clustered Column chart.

Clustered Column Chart

Your chart at the moment looks like this:

It will be Thermometer Chart

The thermometer Chart layout

Right-click on the left axis (e.g. on one of the numbers) and choose Format Axis from the menu.

Format Chart Axis

In the Axis Options, next to Maximum, beside Fixed, type 1.

Fixed Maximum

Next, right-click the blue bar and choose Format Data Series.

Chart Format Data Series

Set the Gap Width to 0 %.

Gap Width Thermometer

Right-click a blank area over a blue bar between the horizontal lines and select Format Plot Area.

Format Plot Area

On the left edge of the page, select Border Color and choose Solid Line. Below, select the blue Color.

Border Color

Your chart now looks like this:

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Thermometer Chart Needs Formatting

Select the entire chart (click anywhere on the chart). Go to the Ribbon > Layout tab. Click on Legend / None.

Chart Legend None

Axes > Primary Horizontal Axis > None

Primary Horizontal Axis

Gridlines > Primary Horizontal Gridlines > None

Primary Horizontal Gridlines

The thermometer Chart is just about to be ready.

Thermometer Chart almost done

It needs to be much more, such as a thermometer. Change the size of the chart.

Thermometer Chart Excel not yet ready

Narrow it and increase the height to be more like a mercury thermometer.

The effect

To insert the oval on the bottom of the goal chart, go to Ribbon> Insert> Illustrations > Shapes. Choose the Oval and adjust it to the chart.

Insert Oval Shape

Your thermometer chart is now complete.

Excel Thermometer Chart

You can use this chart to visually track the progress towards a goal and compare it to the actual result. You can also change the goal and actual result values in the worksheet, and the chart will update automatically.

You can also add other elements to the chart, such as trendlines or error bars, to make it more informative.