Getting Started

Chartnado is an Add-In that runs inside Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. You can create dashboards using your data directly in Excel and then publish them to the cloud for presentation in PowerPoint. This page will help you get started building dashboards.

Start With Your Excel Data

Chartnado works with Excel data tables. These data tables provide structure to the data in Excel and are required. If you are unfamiliar with data tables in Excel you can learn more about data tables here.

Navigate to the Office Store

On the Insert ribbon tab, click on the Store button.

Search for Chartnado

Search for the Chartnado add-in the list of add-ins and click Add.

The Welcome View

When the add-in is first started you will see a blank canvas onto which you can begin building a dashboard. Also, in the left navigation menu there will be links to Getting Started videos and other support resources.

Start with a Widget

Building a dashboard with Chartnado consists of adding visual widgets to the panes of the dashboard. When the designer is first started there is only one pane, but it is trivial to add more. In any pane you can click on any of the widgets to begin creating that visualization. To begin we'll create a Chart widget so click on that.

Hiding the Navigation View

Unfortunately, in the Excel design environment the add-in size is limited. This only occurs in the Excel desktop version of the add-in. We are currently attempting to work with Microsoft to remove this limitation. There are several work-arounds to deal with the small size of the designer, the first being hiding the Navigation menu. To hide the Navigation menu, click on the ellipsis ...

Running through the Wizard

For each of the visualization widgets we have provided a bare-bones wizard that you can walk through to get up and running. Additional customizations are possible for each widget after initial configuration.

All wizards begin with getting you to choose a data table in the workbook. If you don't have any data tables you will not be able to proceed past this point. For a description of data tables please go here.

Excel 2016 Users

In Excel 2016 the Chartnado add-in is able to query the workbook for the list of data tables and this will happen automatically when you go to choose a data table for the widget. If you are an Excel 2013 user the experience is slightly different. Please go here to see what the difference is.

Excel 2016 Users

Once that's finished click the back button to get back to the Wizard.

Chart Type

In the second step of the wizard you choose the chart type. In the current version of Chartnado there are 4 chart types:

  • Point Charts: (bars, lines, scatter, etc)
  • Pie Charts
  • Polar Charts
  • Funnel Charts

The default chart type is a point chart, with the subtype being a basic bar chart. Let's leave the chart type for now.

The Argument

The argument axis is most commonly referred to as the x-axis. Let's choose the column that we want to plot on the x-axis.


In all widgets in Chartnado you plot Fields. A field has an association to one (or more) columns, plus some information that can be used for grouping, formatting, etc.

Choosing the Column

In this case we will associate the argument axis (x-axis) with the 'Order Date' column which is a date/time column.

Choosing the Aggregation

In many cases leaving the default aggregation is fine. However, for some column types (notably date/time columns) choosing an aggregation (or grouping) can be quite effective. In this case we'll choose an aggregation that groups the date/time values in the 'Order Date' column first by year, then by month.

Now hit the back button several times to get back to the Wizard.

Choosing the Value

The value is plotted on the y-axis. Let's choose the 'Line Total' column to plot on the y-axis.

Again, go back to the Wizard by clicking on the back button.


Now that we have selected everything needed to properly display the chart the Finish button becomes enabled.

A Chart

After clicking on the Finish button the pane is replaced with the finished widget.

Editing the Configuration

If you'd like to change the configuration of the widget, click on the ellipsis in the upper-right corner of the widget then select 'Edit' to bring up the property editor.

The Property Editor

The property editor behaves like the Wizard. You select the set of properties that you'd like to edit and then get back to the widget by clicking the back button until the widget re-appears. For example, to change the chart to a pie chart, click 'Appearance' -> 'Layout' -> change to 'Pie' and then keep clicking the back button to show the pie chart.

Update the Aggregation

That pie chart looks a little weird so to change the aggregation go back to the property editor, then choose Argument -> Aggregation -> Date/Time and turn off everything except Year. Then back out of the configuration editor to view a much better pie chart.