Keep Excel from automatically updating charts

There are times when Microsoft Excel is almost too efficient. For instance, Excel automatically updates a chart when a change is made to the chart data. If you want to capture a snapshot of your chart before a change is made, you need to break the link to its data source. This tip walks you through the necessary steps to prevent Excel from automatically updating charts.

By default, Microsoft Excel automatically updates a chart when you make a change to the chart data. While automatic updating keeps a chart current, there may be times when you want to keep a snapshot of the data before an update. You could try making a copy of the chart before an update, but Excel is programmed to automatically update any copy of the chart, along with the original.

To keep Excel from automatically updating a copy of a chart with new data, you need to break the link to the source data. Follow these steps:

  1. Copy the chart in question to another workbook. In the second workbook, go to Edit | Links.
  2. Click the link between the chart and its data source.
  3. Click the Break Link button.
  4. In the error warning box, click the Break Links button, and then click Close.

Now you'll have an opportunity to capture a snapshot of your chart data before the chart is updated.

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