Stock Charts In Excel: The Guide to Powerful Visualizations

stock charts in excel

Do you want to start tracking stock performance and analyzing fundamental stock trends but don't know how to get started? Have no fear! In this guide, we will show you how to build powerful stock chart visualizations in Excel. As a result, you'll be able to analyze stock financials, key metrics, track real-time price data, and more in no time!

What are stock charts, and why are they important for investors and traders?

Stock charts are graphical representations of stock metrics such as price or revenue movement over time. They are important for investors and traders because they provide a visual way to track stock performance and identify stock trends.

Stock charts can be used to track stock price movement over time, identify potentially undervalued stocks, and make informed investment decisions.

The different types of stock chart visualizations in Excel

There are many different types of stock charts in Excel, but the most common ones are line charts, bar charts, pie charts, and candlestick charts. Each chart has its advantages and disadvantages, but line charts are the most basic and easiest to understand.

Line charts

Line charts show stock key metric movement over time by plotting stock that metric, such as price or revenue on a line. They are easy to understand and can be used to identify stock trends.

Bar charts

Bar charts show stock key metric movement over time by plotting a metric like net income over time. They are more complex than line charts but can provide more detailed information.

Candlestick charts

Candlestick charts show stock key metric movement over time by plotting stock prices as candlesticks. They are more complex than bar charts but can provide more detailed price information.


How to Create Excel Stock Charts

Creating stock charts in Excel is an effective way to visualize financial data, track stock performance, and analyze market trends. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create your own stock charts in Excel.

Step 1: Gather Your Data

  1. Collect Data: Start by collecting the data you want to plot. This can include stock prices, trading volumes, earnings, etc. Make sure your data is organized with dates in one column and the financial metrics in adjacent columns.
  2. Format Data: Ensure your data is in a consistent format, particularly the dates. Excel works best with data that is laid out in a table format (i.e., in contiguous rows and columns).

Step 2: Insert a Chart

  1. Select Data: Highlight the data you want to include in the chart. Include both the dates and the corresponding financial metrics.
  2. Insert Chart: Go to the ‘Insert’ tab in Excel, choose the chart type that best fits your data analysis needs. For stock data, you might choose line charts, bar charts, or candlestick charts.

Step 3: Customize the Chart

  1. Adjust Chart Type and Data Range: If needed, change the chart type by right-clicking on the chart and selecting “Change Chart Type.” You can also adjust the data range from this menu.
  2. Format Axes: Right-click on the axes to format them. For the date axis, you may want to set specific date intervals to make the data more readable.
  3. Add Titles and Labels: Click on the chart and use the ‘Chart Tools’ to add chart titles, axis labels, and other descriptive texts.
  4. Customize Design: Use the ‘Design’ and ‘Format’ tabs under ‘Chart Tools’ to change the chart’s color, style, and layout to make it more visually appealing and easy to understand.

Step 4: Create Advanced Chart Types (Optional)

  1. Candlestick Chart: For more advanced stock analysis, a candlestick chart can be useful. To create this, you need Open, High, Low, and Close data. Select this data and choose the ‘Candlestick’ option from the ‘Insert’ tab.
  2. Combo Chart: If you want to combine different types of data (e.g., stock prices and volume), use a combo chart. This is done by selecting your data and choosing ‘Combo’ from the ‘Change Chart Type’ option.

Step 5: Analyze and Interpret

  1. Trend Analysis: Look for trends in the data. For example, increasing or decreasing trends in stock prices or volumes can indicate market sentiment.
  2. Compare Data: If you’ve plotted multiple data series (like stock prices of different companies), compare them to identify relative performance.

Step 6: Save and Update

  1. Save Chart: Save your Excel file with the chart. You can also copy the chart into reports or presentations.
  2. Regular Updates: If you’re tracking ongoing market data, regularly update your chart with new data. This can be automated with Excel data connections if you’re using real-time data sources.

Examples of effective stock charts in Excel

Now that we've gone over the different stock chart types, let's look at some examples of effective stock charts in Excel.

This bar chart from Google Wisesheets shows Alphabet (GOOG) revenue, gross profit, and operating income over time:

Excel stock bar chart

This candlestick chart from Wisesheets shows Apple (AAPL) stock price movement over time:

apple candlestick chart excel

This line chart from Wisesheets shows Amazon (AMZN) stock revenue growth compared with the operating expense growth over time:

Stock line chart excel

You can get all these visualizations for over 50 thousand companies worldwide in your Excel or Google Sheet spreadsheet by creating a free Wisesheet account and downloading the "hypercharts" template available on the Wisesheets add-in. Simply change the ticker and watch all the charts update.

excel stock charts

How to read stock charts

Now that we've gone over the different types of stock charts and seen some examples let's take a look at how to read them.

Stock charts can be read in two ways: absolute and relative. Absolute stock charts show stock metrics like price or revenue on an absolute scale, while relative stock charts show metric movement relative to another stock metric like the S&P 500 index.

To read a stock chart, start by looking at the x-axis to identify the time period that is being shown. Then, look at the y-axis to identify the stock metric that is being plotted. Finally, look at the stock price or other metric plot to identify stock trends.

For example, this line chart shows Alphabet (GOOG) stock price movement over time:

Excel google stock price

The x-axis shows that the stock prices are plotted from August 4th, 2022, to September 2nd, 2022. The y-axis shows that the stock prices are plotted on a scale of $100 to $125. And finally, we can see that the stock price increased from $111 to $118 in this period.

In this example, the chart shows positive stock price growth over this time frame.

Tips for creating powerful and informative stock chart visualizations

Now that you know the basics of stock charts and the different types of stock chart visualizations, it's time to learn how to create powerful and informative stock chart visualizations. Here are some tips:

  • Identify the type of analysis: depending on your investment style, you can choose the type of stock chart that best helps you with your analysis.
  • Use multiple metrics: don't just track stock price movement, also track other stock metrics such as volume or revenue. This will give you a more comprehensive view of stock performance.
  • Use different time frames: don't just track stock performance over the past year, also track it over the past month or week. This will help you identify short-term and long-term stock trends.
  • Add annotations: add notes to your stock charts to explain what's happening or why you're making a particular investment decision. This will help you remember your thoughts and make better investment decisions in the future.
  • Don't just use stock charts: Use stock charts in conjunction with other research on the stock for better results such as financials, market research, management team, etc. (Learn more here).

Following these tips, you'll be well on your way to creating powerful stock chart visualizations that will help you track stock performance and make informed investment decisions. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Excel Stock Charts

Creating stock charts in Excel can sometimes present challenges. Here are common issues users might encounter along with solutions to help you troubleshoot effectively.

Issue 1: Incorrect Data Representation

Problem: The chart does not accurately reflect the data inputted.

Solutions:

  1. Check Data Range: Ensure the correct data range is selected when creating the chart.
  2. Verify Data Format: Make sure that all data, especially dates and financial figures, are correctly formatted in Excel. Dates should be in date format, and financial figures should be in number format.

Issue 2: Dates Not Displaying Correctly

Problem: Dates are either clustered together or not in chronological order.

Solutions:

  1. Format Axis: Right-click on the date axis and select 'Format Axis'. Ensure the axis is set to 'Date axis' and adjust the units (e.g., days, months, years) as needed.
  2. Sort Data: Ensure your data is sorted in chronological order before creating the chart.

Issue 3: Data Not Updating Automatically

Problem: The chart doesn’t reflect updates made in the source data.

Solutions:

  1. Refresh Chart: If you've linked your chart to an external data source, refresh the connection.
  2. Dynamic Data Range: Use dynamic named ranges for your data so the chart updates automatically when new data is added.

Issue 4: Chart Not Displaying All Data

Problem: Some data points are missing or not all intended data is showing on the chart.

Solutions:

  1. Adjust Data Selection: Recheck the data range selected for the chart to ensure it includes all desired data points.
  2. Increase Chart Size: Sometimes, increasing the size of the chart can reveal hidden data points.

Issue 5: Candlestick Chart Problems

Problem: Candlestick charts not displaying properly, often due to issues with the arrangement of Open, High, Low, and Close data.

Solutions:

  1. Correct Data Order: Ensure your data is in the correct order – Open, High, Low, Close – and correctly aligned in your data range.
  2. Data Formatting: Verify that all the data points are correctly formatted as numbers.

Issue 6: Poor Visual Readability

Problem: Chart is hard to read or interpret, possibly due to poor color choices or cluttered data.

Solutions:

  1. Simplify Design: Reduce clutter by removing unnecessary elements and using clear, distinct colors for different data series.
  2. Use Labels and Legends: Ensure all axes are labeled and a legend is provided if multiple data series are present.

Issue 7: Excel Version Compatibility

Problem: Certain chart types or features not available or not working in older versions of Excel.

Solutions:

  1. Update Excel: If possible, update to a newer version of Excel.
  2. Alternative Chart Types: Use alternative chart types or features that are available in your version of Excel.

Issue 8: Formulas Not Working

Problem: Formulas used to generate or manipulate data for the chart are not working.

Solutions:

  1. Check Formula Syntax: Ensure that all formulas are correctly written and reference the correct cells.
  2. Circular References: Look for and resolve any circular references that may be causing errors in your calculations.

Conclusion

Stock charts are a powerful tool that can help you visualize stock data and identify stock trends. However, there are many different types of stock charts, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

To create powerful stock chart visualizations, you need to understand the different types of stock charts and how to read them. You also need to know how to use multiple metrics, different time frames, and annotations.

Following these tips, you'll be well on your way to creating powerful stock chart visualizations that will help you track stock performance and make informed investment decisions.

What type of stock chart do you find most useful for your analysis? Let us know in the comments below!

Hello! I'm a finance enthusiast who fell in love with the world of finance at 15, devouring Warren Buffet's books and streaming Berkshire Hathaway meetings like a true fan.

I started my career in the industry at one of Canada's largest REITs, where I honed my skills analyzing and facilitating over a billion dollars in commercial real estate deals.

My passion led me to the stock market, but I quickly found myself spending more time gathering data than analyzing companies.

That's when my team and I created Wisesheets, a tool designed to automate the stock data gathering process, with the ultimate goal of helping anyone quickly find good investment opportunities.

Today, I juggle improving Wisesheets and tending to my stock portfolio, which I like to think of as a garden of assets and dividends. My journey from a finance-loving teenager to a tech entrepreneur has been a thrilling ride, full of surprises and lessons.

I'm excited for what's next and look forward to sharing my passion for finance and investing with others!

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