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Selecting data for a chart can include hidden rows or hidden columns. Also, it might contain zero values, as we see in this line chart here. But do you want the data in this chart to be depicted regardless of its hidden status, and what do you want to do with those zeroes at times? This chart perhaps is a little bit disconcerting because of the gaps. How might it look if it were column chart? Will that make any differences? Let's check this out here. Click on the Chart, Design tab, change the Chart Type, how about to a clustered column? Double-click that first choice.
We still see the gaps. For some reason, to me that's not as obviously un-appealing as the previous example was. As I press Ctrl+Z here to undo, it looks like that. So maybe that's a question of personal taste. What if we were to hide the columns? Now looking at the data, you would imagine eventually that this missing data should be reported and put into the data, and everything is going to be cleaned up, but for the moment it's not. What if these rows were hidden? And you can imagine, for example, the same kind of data, maybe if it's covering day by day, over a time period. You've got missing days.
Maybe that's a more likely scenario, but let's select the rows that have missing data. Row 4 and using the Ctrl key, row 11, and then row 18, and then right-click and Hide, and you see how the chart is changed. Now, not the world's best solution, but it does show us that the hidden data, or the hidden rows in this case, are not being displayed. Now, let's right-click one of these. Or if we choose the Design tab, the choice called Select Data, we do have some control over both hidden and empty cells.
It's in the bottom of this dialog box called the Select Data Source dialog box. Remember, we got here from the Select Data button on the Design tab. We also could have right-clicked on one of the lines and chosen Select Data. So hidden and empty cells. Show empty cells as gaps. Show data in hidden rows and columns, what if we were to do this first? Make this choice. Show data in hidden rows and columns. You see what's happening here. Now would you want to show the empty cells as zero? And you might be misled here.
Click OK and then OK. And I doubt if you would make that choice. Now you could, of course. It does show the data for those hidden months, which we are not seeing. For example, here is October. We don't see that in the list over there. It is in the hidden row 11. It displays as a zero. I think that's not such a good choice. Same thing with May here. Now another way to get into this dialog box, as I mentioned, is to right-click one of lines here and choose Select Data, and here we are back again, Hidden and Empty Cells.
And Connect the data points with line, we could do that. Now we are still showing the data in hidden rows, which in this case is zero value data. Click OK and for example, keep your eye on the May here. It's going to connect the April and June. And we don't necessarily know what really would've occurred there when we get the real data, but it's actually going to connect the dots as if it were continuous. So we click OK. So, you see what happened there. So it's up to you to decide what to use here, but you do have some control over how you want these to be displayed.
Now once again, switching this back to a column chart, on the Design tab, leftmost button Change Chart Type. We'll make it a column chart, the first choice, clustered column. We see what's happening here. If we were to right-click the column here or go through Select Data up on the Design tab, same place, hidden and empty cells. The third choice here, Connect the data points with lines, doesn't exist. So even though we could choose a zero here, we cannot really connect them with a line here because we have no lines.
So that option is not selectable if it's a column or bar or any other chart other than a line chart here. So we have some options, and you've got control over the way Excel shows or hides a chart's source data that might be in hidden rows or columns, or if you encounter 0 values. Remember distinct differences, the way this works between line and column or bar charts.
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