How to add a horizontal line in Excel chart 

While working in Microsoft Excel, we often use charts to represent different types of data and information. Sometimes, we need to compare some values against a given benchmark or a standard value. We can use horizontal lines to compare the two series of data. A horizontal line can act as a reference or benchmark for comparison purposes. It provides a fixed value against which other data points or trends can be evaluated. For example, you might add a horizontal line to represent a target value, an average, temperature forecasts, etc.  

There are different methods to add a horizontal line in different kinds of charts. We’ll discuss adding a horizontal line in a column chart and line char in this tutorial. Consider the following cases: 

Case 1 – Adding a horizontal line in a column chart 

We can add a horizontal line in the column chart by changing the series chart type of the quantity to “Scatter with straight lines and markers”, which is set as a standard. Consider the dataset that contains the temperature for seven days of the week and the temperature forecast for each day. The dataset is converted to a column chart. For comparing the temperature of each day with its forecast, we need to add a horizontal line that represents the forecast. 

Step 1 – Select the standard quantity 

  • Move your cursor to any bar of the standard quantity. 
  • Click on it and select it. 

Step 2 – Change the series chart type  

  • After selecting the bar, press right-click. 
  • Click on “Change series chart type”. 
  • Change the chart type from “Clustered Column” to “Scatter with straight lines and markers”. 
  • Uncheck the “Secondary Axis” box. 
  • Click on OK. 

Case 2 – Adding a horizontal line in linear graphs 

In the case of linear graphs, we can insert a horizontal line in the chart by adding a new series in the chart with X and Y values such that it forms a straight line. Consider the following dataset that contains the sales of different products of a cosmetic company over 5 months. We’ll add a horizontal line that will represent the target sales for each month. Afterward, we can do a clear comparison between sold items and target sales: 

Step 1 – Select the dataset and generate a linear graph 

  • Press and drag your cursor to select the dataset. 
  • Go to the “Insert” column. 
  • Go to the “Charts” group. 
  • Click on “Scatter with straight lines and markers”. 

Step 2 – Add a series of data 

  • Right-click on the chart area. 
  • Click on “Select Data”. 
  • Click on “Add”. 
  • In “Series X values”, write 0,6
  • The target in this data is 500, so write 500,500 in “Series Y values”. 
  • Click OK.