STEM

Butterfly Chart (Excel)

Butterfly chart (aka Tornado or Divergent chart) is a type of bar chart used to compare two data sets side by side.
It plots the data as two horizontal bars with the same X-axis in the center, resembling the butterfly wings.
It gives a quick glance at the difference between two groups with the same parameters. It’s often used to represent two data series side by side, such as comparing male vs. female, displaying positive vs. negative opinions, presenting election results (e.g., republicans vs. democrats), etc.

In this post, I share how to create a butterfly chart to show key stats of a soccer (European football) match between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in a UEFA Championship Semi-final game. Actual stats are shown.

First, set up a table as this:

I added the date, arena, and final score as added bonus, so we can instantly see the key stats in one chart.

The key is to start with a stacked bar chart. The first chart looks like this: Then add data lables, justify them to Base and End on each bar, remove the X-axis and grids, and change to some relevant colors.

Now the chart looks like this:

Then remove the Y-axis, and add Textboxes and point with a formula for each to each row of the table in left-most column. These are the category labels. Then position each such that it’s right above its respective bar. Now it looks like this:

Not bad, but we’re not getting the butterfly effect and since they’re all in the same X-axis scale the smaller numbers like Corners, Shots of target, are showing up quite small. One way to solve the scaling problem without tweaking the numbers is to break each one bar into its own chart. Then, bring it altogether into one comprehensive chart with some infographic to make it look really professional.

One that’s done, I added the final score, logos for each team on each side, centered the categories and bars, and finally added the date and venue to the chart. The final chart looks like this:

That’s much better and I’m happy with this look. Play around with your data and use your own styles and creativity. Happy charting!


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