Macro to extract data from a chart in Excel


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In Microsoft Excel, you can retrieve data from a chart even when the data is in an external worksheet or workbook. This is useful in situations where the chart was created from, or linked to, another file that is unavailable or has been damaged in some way. When the source data to a chart is lost, the data can still be retrieved from the chart itself, by using a Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications macro.

More Information

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The following sample macro places the chart's source data in a worksheet called "ChartData" in the active workbook, beginning in the first column and first row.

  1. Enter the following macro code in a module sheet:

    Sub GetChartValues()
       Dim NumberOfRows As Integer
       Dim X As Object
       Counter = 2
       ' Calculate the number of rows of data.
       NumberOfRows = UBound(ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(1).Values)
       Worksheets("ChartData").Cells(1, 1) = "X Values"
       ' Write x-axis values to worksheet.
       With Worksheets("ChartData")
          .Range(.Cells(2, 1), _
          .Cells(NumberOfRows + 1, 1)) = _
       End With
       ' Loop through all series in the chart and write their values to
       ' the worksheet.
       For Each X In ActiveChart.SeriesCollection
          Worksheets("ChartData").Cells(1, Counter) = X.Name
          With Worksheets("ChartData")
             .Range(.Cells(2, Counter), _
             .Cells(NumberOfRows + 1, Counter)) = _
          End With
          Counter = Counter + 1
    End Sub
  2. Insert a new worksheet into your workbook and rename it to "ChartData" (without the quotation marks).

  3. Select the chart from which you want to extract the underlying data values.


    The chart can either be embedded on a worksheet or on a separate chart sheet.

  4. Run the GetChartValues macro.

    The data from the chart is placed in the "ChartData" worksheet.

To have the chart be interactive with the recovered data, you need to link the chart to the new data sheet rather than retain the links to the missing or damaged workbook.

  1. Select the chart, and click a series to find the sheet name to which the chart is linked in the damaged or missing workbook. The sheet name appears in the series formula in the formula bar.


    The sheet name may follow the workbook name, which is enclosed in square brackets such as "[Book1]," and precede the exclamation point "!" (or apostrophe and exclamation point "'!") that indicates the beginning of a cell reference. The sheet name includes only the characters between the closed square bracket symbol "]" and the exclamation point (or apostrophe and exclamation point). Leave out any apostrophe if it is immediately before the exclamation mark, because an apostrophe can not be the last character in a sheet name.

  2. Double-click the tab of the new sheet called ChartData.

  3. Type the original sheet name from step 1 over the highlighted "ChartData" and press ENTER. This name must be the same as the sheet name from the damaged or missing workbook.

  4. If you have not saved this file with the chart and data sheet, save the file.

  5. In Excel 2003 or Excel 2002, click Links on the Edit menu, and then click Change Source.

    In Excel 2007, click the Data tab, click Edit Links in the Connenctions group, and then click Change Source.

  6. In the Source File box, select the link to change, and then click Change Source.

  7. In the Change Links dialog box, select the new file with the recovered data and chart, and then click OK.

  8. If you receive the following error message

    Your formula contains an invalid external reference to a worksheet.

    it is likely that the sheet name that you typed in step 3 is not the same as the original. Go back to step 1.

  9. The Source File box may now be blank. This indicates that all links point to the active file rather than the missing or damaged file. Click Close.

The chart now references and interacts with the recovered data on the renamed sheet in the active workbook.