Add a zoom feature to charts
In any line chart sometimes the lines are so close that we can not see the differences. Especially when we add one (or more) trend lines.
At this point we need to zoom into the chart.
This is great feedback. We are looking into the details of this. Please continue to vote on feature ideas which will increase their likelihood of getting in the product.
I would like to be able to zoom in by pinching using touch and by scrolling the mouse wheel while holing Ctrl while the pointer is positioned on the chat. I would also like to be able to pan using touch when zoomed in.
Russ Raine commented
While I understand that the main emphasis of Excel is to provide for commercial (financial, sales etc.) data manipulation, the large scientific community also has needs. As mentioned below, X vs Time data on X-Y scatter plots is a mainstay. The ability to quickly zoom into a complex/detailed plot is a very useful tool. I envisage it as placing the cursor on the graph and zooming on that point; similar to the google maps function.
This would also alleviate the super silly 5/6th rule!
Excel charts definitely needs to have a native scroll, scale and zoom feature. Every chart should be able to scale down from all points to x number of points, zoom in and out (which is slightly different than scaling), and scroll along both the x and y axis.
This would make the entire chart experience so much better!
Currently I have to build super complex and memory intensive double dynamic index formulas to pull this off, which only serves to stall out excel for up to a few minutes. if such features were native, my charts would be much more user friendly.
Brett Ables commented
I'll add to this that "Data Exploration" is now a far more common practice than it used to be. It is very common to get data off the internet, plot it, and then want to explore the data in greater detail by zooming in and panning around similar to exploring a region on a map. This is especially true for dense datasets or time-based data. Daily data for 10 years is overwhelming, but the ability to zoom in to see how weekly trends evolved over time or track a single line among hundreds helps use discern patterns much more quickly as we come to understand the data. Coming from an engineering background, every plot we make is an X, Y scatter plot used to discern shapes or trends of related variables. Some features are evident from the default zoom level, but often zooming in is necessary to see interesting data points. It is also very common in Engineering to plot 2D drawings and shapes on an XY plot. In this scenario zooming is just as useful as in any drawing or CAD software. It's understandable if bar and pie graphs are seen as the primary use case why zoom/pan aren't available, but for line/scatter plots it is an essential feature. The lack of interactive plotting is the biggest reason why Engineers / Scientists / Researchers move to more powerful tools to do "real work."
we use excel charts to display data against time. The data is recorded at 10second intervals and can span several days (pressure while drilling data). Displaying all the data on a chart isn't practical so 'zooming' in manually by changing the axis limits is the only option currently that i know of (other than writing VBA macros). But in the modern world zooming into charts is a natural extension and should really have been included in the native functionality long ago.
Also, given my use case, it would be nice if the zooming was smooth and didn't get a horrible clunky redraw moment as the chart re-plots hundreds of thousands of data points - perhaps if the series was re-dimensioned dynamically in the background to include only points that are within the current axes range?
Charley Kyd commented
This should be a setting that affects the upper and lower bounds of the chart. That way, as the data changes, the bounds adjust automatically to apply the zoom setting.
Totally agree - something like the Google finance chart that has a zoom controller under it but with the ability to check / uncheck the items via the legend as well (so we can 'clear' the noise and focus on certain things the charts are showing).
Pramod Yadav commented
@Safia: Andreas gives a business case to zoom in between lines. Another business scenario is when the x axis is too dense, user may want to zoom in (Within a line) to see the slope of change. Both are possible business case.
Pramod Yadav commented
@Andreas Killer: I thought of adding the Zoom in as a suggestion and saw that you already did. I vote up for the idea :)
Andreas Killer commented
Another scenario for a Zoom (and Pan) feature are timeline charts.
It is very complicated to show only a part of a timeline in a chart. For now it is only possible if we "scale" the horizontal axis, means we have to change the first and last date.
But that leads to another issue, e.g.: A trendline in a bar chart has a different slope if you show all data or only a part of the data.
Safiya (Program Manager, Microsoft) commented
Thanks for the feedback! It makes sense to want to zoom into the chart to visually tell apart data points. As I explore this area for further improvements - are there any other scenarios where you see the ability to zoom into a chart adding value?
Brett Ables commented
Chart interactivity as a whole could be drastically improved with planning and zooming. Changing the axis bounds to explore data is ridiculously slow and not user friendly currently... which drives people to better plotting tools in Matlab, Python, etc if they need to interact with complex data.