Dynamic Column Chart with Percent Variance Indicated by Arrows on X-Axis

Use this dynamic column chart PowerPoint template to analyze and report percentage variance between two values.

This dynamic column chart template is conditionally formatted to automatically calculate percentage variance from absolute values and show up or down arrows along the X-axis, based on increase or decrease in value over previous period.

Chart Type

Column Chart (Vertical Bar Chart)

Chart Function


Use case example: Monthly sales variance

The column chart in above example compares (a) number of units sold in each month from January to July and the month-over-month percentage variance (increase/decrease).

In addition to periodic data comparison (as in above example), this template can also be used for sales, marketing, HR, digital marketing, financial data comparisons across periods (days, weeks, months, years), products (shirts, skirts, shoes etc.), employee performance, revenue comparison (based on function, department, branch etc.) and so on.

This is a great chart for your monthly report and dashboard.


% Variance = [ (Current Period Value - Previous Period Value) / Previous Period Value ] x 100

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 categories in column D. They are plotted on X-axis.
  3. Enter corresponding data for each category in column E. This is plotted on Y-axis.
  4. Percentage variance is derived from absolute values (auto calculated using formulas).
  5. Percentage variance is shown along X-axis, below the category labels. Positive variance is indicated by an ‘up’ arrow and negative variance is indicated by a ‘down’ arrow along X-axis.
  6. Close the Excel sheet.
  7. File format: PPTX. Compatible with PowerPoint 2010 and above.

Watch the following video for;

  • How to edit chart data.
  • Dynamic functioning of up/down arrows and display along X-axis.
  • Dynamic calculations of percent change and display along X-axis.
  • How to change chart colors easily.
  • How to add a new series.
  • How to change data label values from absolute numbers to currency.

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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