Target vs. Actual Column Chart with Below Target Columns Auto Highlighted

Use this column chart PowerPoint template with conditional formatting to compare actual performance against target / budget and automatically highlight below target / budget categories.

Chart Template for PowerPoint

This template is conditionally formatted to automatically identify category values below specified budget / target / threshold and highlight the columns as well as X-axis labels in different color to draw attention to under performing categories.


Column Chart (Vertical Bar Chart)



How to use and edit this chart template

To edit this chart template, execute following steps.

  1. Right click on the chart to open chart menu. Click Edit Data. This will open the linked Excel sheet (see video below).
  2. Enter target / budget / threshold value in row 2.
  3. Enter categories in column A (plotted on X-axis) and corresponding data in column B (plotted on Y-axis).
  4. You can add your data manually or copy data from Excel or any other data source.
  5. Close the Excel sheet.
  6. Restyle and customize to change text, fonts, colors etc. to match your brand guidelines, corporate identity / corporate design and preferences. 
  7. Columns corresponding to categories where the actual values are below target / budget / forecast, are automatically identified and highlighted in a different color.
  8. X-axis labels are highlighted in red color for below target categories.
  9. Easily change Y-axis values from absolute numbers to currency or percentages.
  10. You can specify your own budget / forecast / target value in the data set up.
  11. The data can be numeric, percentages or currency values.
  12. The default color for columns that meet or surpass targets is gray and for below budget values is a shade of red. You can easily change the colors.
  13. Modify the template for your own use case, industry or job function. Easily change, add or delete categories and corresponding data series, if you have more/less data than provided in this ready-to-use template.
  14. File format: PPTX. Compatible with PowerPoint 2010 and above.

Watch the following video for;

  • How to edit chart data.
  • Dynamic functioning of the chart.
  • How to change chart colors easily.

Use case example: Actual sales against target

The dynamic column chart (vertical bar graph) PowerPoint template in above example compares actual monthly sales of an organization against set target/budget/threshold. 

The dynamic columns color distinction based on data values helps in highlighting and differentiating the under performers from the rest, at a glance. It instantly draws audiences’ attention without a need to compare the heights of columns. This helps in decreasing the cognitive load and process the data faster.

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Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.

Stephen Few

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