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How to shade the area under a normal curve in an Excel chart?

Author: Siluvia Last Modified: 2022-10-27

As shown in the screenshot below, this tutorial is going to explain how to shade the area under a normal curve in an Excel chart with two methods.

Shade the area under a normal curve by inserting a helper column
Easily shade the area under a normal curve with an amazing tool


Shade the area under a normal curve by inserting a helper column

Suppose you want to create a line chart based on the monthly sales below and shade the area under the line in the chart. Please do as follows.

1. Create a helper column that references the original data to represent the shaded area.

Select the first cell (C1 in this case) next to the sales column and give it a header. Then select cell C2, enter the formula below and press the Enter key to get the result. Select this result cell and drag its AutoFill Handle down to get the rest of the results.
=B2

2. Select the whole range, click Insert > Insert Line or Area Chart > Line with Marker (or the line chart you need).

Tips: If you have already created a line chart based on the original data, please skip this step and jump to the Note.

Note: If you have already created a line chart for the original data (see the following screenshot) and only want to shade the area under the line. After creating the helper column in step 1, you need to do as follows.

1) Right click the chart and choose Select Data from the context menu.
2) In the Select Data Source dialog box, click the Add button.
3) In the Edit Series dialog box, select the series name and series values in the helper column separately, and then click the OK button.
4) When it returns to the Select Data Source dialog box, you can see that the newly added series is displayed in the Legend Entries (Series) box. Click OK to save the changes. See screenshot:

3. Right click on the line in the chart and select Change Series Chart Type in the right-clicking menu.

4. In the Change Chart Type dialog box, change the chart type of the helper series to “Stacked Area” and click OK to save the changes.

The chart is now displayed as follows. You can see that the area under the line is filled with orange.

Now we need to modify the highlighted color to make the chart look better.

5. Right click the shaded area and click Format Data Series in the context menu.

6. In the opening Format Data Series pane, you need to configure as follows.

6.1) Go to the Fill & Line tab;
6.2) In the Fill section, select the Gradient fill option;
6.3) Then create the gradient of your own. Here, I make a gradual transition between two colors (select gradient fill in the Color drop-down list) by using the Gradient stops tool, change the Transparency to 50% and the Brightness to 100%. See screenshot:

7. Remove the legend and change the chart title as you need. Then the chart is now completed.


Easily shade the area under a normal curve with an amazing tool

After applying the above method, when you delete or hide the helper column, the shaded area will be removed from the chart. Here, we introduce to you the Smooth Area Chart utility of Kutools for Excel. With this utility, you can easily create a line chart with shaded area under the line without creating a helper column.

1. Select the whole monthly sales table, click Kutools > Charts > Difference Comparison > Smooth Area Chart. See screenshot:

2. In the Smooth Area Chart dialog box, you can see that the fields are automatically filled with corresponding cell references, click the OK button directly.

3. Then a Kutools for Excel dialog box pops up to remind you that the chart will be static, click the Yes button.

Then a chart with smooth line angles and fill color under the line is created. Please see the screenshot below.

Note: If you want to change the fill color under the line in the chart, view the steps above.


Demo: Shade the area under a normal curve in an Excel chart

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