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Views > Excel charts > How to create a unit chart in Excel

Unit charts, also known as Wilkinson Dot Plots, are similar to bar charts and histograms. However, they display each unit of measure as a single mark or symbol. Here below is an example based on data/chart from The Wall Street Journal. Lets build it in Excel.

1. I’ll start by defining the symbol     that I want to use in the chart. To do that, select cell C1, and on the Insert tab click on Symbol in the Symbols group.
2. In the Symbol dialog box select Wingdings from the Font dropdown list.
3. Scroll down through the matrix of icons and select the    icon as per the screenshot below. Click the Insert button. Next press the Close button to close the Symbol dialog box.

4. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to enter the symbol in cell C1.
5. Add the text label "Symbol" in cell B1. The Excel sheet should like this:

6. Type in cell B6 the text label “Tim Leslie CEO of Leafly”. To push “CEO of Leafly” to the second line, press Alt + Enter before typing the text in the Formula Bar.
7. Make the font of the name of the CEO Bold and reduce the font size of its title to create contrast between the name and the title.
8. Go to cell C6 and type 21.
9. In cell D6 type the following formula:
= REPT(\$C\$1,C6)
10. Select cell D6 and change its font to Wingdings and its color to Blue. The Excel sheet should look like this:

HOW TO CREATE A UNIT CHART IN EXCEL

HOW TO CREATE A UNIT CHART IN EXCEL

11. Adjust the width of Column B so that the text label fits on two lines.
12. Reduce the width of Column C by double-clicking the right edge of the Column Header.
13. Reduce the height of Row 7. The worksheet should like this:

14. Select rows 6 and 7 and press Ctrl + C to copy them to the clipboard.
15. Next, select row 8 and press Ctrl + V to paste the content of the clipboard into the sheet.
16. Repeat the above process 6 more times. The sheet should look like this:

17. Modify the labels and the data. The sheet should look like this:

18. Add title, source, descriptions and annotations.
19. Set the gridlines off by unchecking the Gridlines option in the Show group under the View tab. The worksheet should look like this:

20. Change the symbol in cell C1 and see how the chart adapts. Here is a proposal with squares instead of circles:

Thank you for reading, and I hope you found this useful. If you have any questions, find me on Twitter and ask me anything.