Graphs And Charts In Excel

What Are Graphs And Charts In Excel?

Graphs and charts in Excel are powerful tools that allow users to represent data in an organized and concise manner visually. Graphs visually represent numerical data, highlighting trends, patterns, and relationships between variables. With various chart types such as line graphs, bar charts, pie charts, and scatter plots available, users can customize their visual presentations to convey information effectively. Excel offers a range of features to enhance graph creation, including options for labeling axes, adding titles and legends, applying styles and colors, and even analyzing data with trend lines or moving averages.

Consider the values of the three items in columns A and B. To visually enhance the representation of this data, we have created a Column Chart in Excel, as depicted in the image below.

To demonstrate the process of creating a Column Chart in Excel, please follow these steps:

Select the table data we wish to incorporate into a column chart. Navigate to the Insert tab. Choose the Insert Column or Bar Chart option from the Charts group. Click the downward arrow button accompanying the Insert Column or Bar Chart option. Select the desired formatting for the Excel Column Chart from the drop-down list.

Step 6: The resulting Column Chart is shown in the image below.

Key Takeaways
• Graphs and charts in Excel feature make it easier for professionals to present complex data sets or large amounts of information clearly and comprehensively.
• Using graphs and charts in Excel, professionals can quickly grasp the main insights from their data, make informed decisions based on that data analysis, and effectively communicate findings to colleagues or clients.
• When dealing with percentage data, opting for a PIE chart is advisable. This type of chart allows for a clear representation of proportions.
• To determine the most fitting chart for a given dataset, it is recommended to experiment with different chart types. By doing so, we can identify the chart that best suits the characteristics and requirements of the data.

How To Make Charts And Graphs In Excel?

To make charts and graphs in Excel, begin by selecting the data we intend to portray visually. This could include numerical values, labels, and titles.

• Once the data is selected, click on the Insert tab at the top of the Excel window and choose the type of chart or graph that suits our needs from a wide range of options such as column, bar, line, or pie chart in excel.
• After selecting our desired chart type, a default chart will appear on our worksheet.
• Next, customize our chart by adding axis labels, choosing different colors or markers for data points, adjusting title positions and font sizes, etc., using design tools available under Chart Tools on the ribbon menu.
• Additionally, we can modify individual data series by right-clicking and selecting Format Data Series to enhance the appearance of our chart further.
• Finally, ensure that our graph includes all relevant information and adjust any additional settings like scaling axes or displaying gridlines before finalizing it for presentation purposes.

Steps for creating Graphs in Excel:

• Gather Numerical Data: The initial step in creating graphs in Excel is to gather the necessary numerical data. Having numerical data to construct accurate charts or graphs is crucial.
• Define Data Headings: Also known as data labels, the headings of each column should be clear, concise, and easily understandable. These headings serve as a guide for interpreting the data accurately.
• Organize Data in a Logical Order: The presentation of data in Excel is vital in constructing effective charts. If the data is scattered or disorganized, it can be challenging to create a meaningful chart. Therefore, it is essential to arrange the data logically and coherently.

Types

Several charts and graphs can be created in Excel, each with its purpose and benefits. The common types include column charts, line charts, pie charts, bar charts, area charts, scatter plots, and radar charts.

• Column charts are ideal for comparing data across distinct categories or periods.
• Line charts usually visualize trends over time, especially for large sets of continuous numerical data.
• Pie charts represent a whole divided into different parts and help to demonstrate proportions or percentages.
• Bar charts are similar to column charts but with horizontal bars instead of vertical columns, typically used when the category names are too long to display vertically.
• Area charts depict how different series contribute to the whole over time while showing their cumulative totals.
• Scatter plots display relationships between two numeric variables by plotting individual points on a graph.
• Lastly, radar charts illustrate multiple quantitative variables on multiple axes originating from the same point for comparison purposes, such as evaluating performance across various dimensions.

Understanding these various types of Excel graphs aids in effectively conveying data in a professional setting.

Examples

Example #1

Assuming we have eight years of sales data, we aim to present this information visually through graphs.

Step 1: To begin, we must select the specific date range we wish to include in our graph.

Step 2: Next, navigate to the Insert tab and locate the Charts section. From there, choose the Column chart option. While various types are available under the Column chart, we recommend selecting the first one.

Step 3: At this point, which bar represents each year may be unclear. To address this, right-click on the chart and select Select Data.

Step 4: In the window that appears, click the Edit button on the right-hand side.

Step 5: A small dialog box will appear below after clicking the Edit option. This box will prompt us to select the Horizontal Axis Labels. Choose the column that contains the Year information.

Step 6: Each bar will display the corresponding Year label below.

Step 7: To further enhance the clarity of the graph, add Data Labels to each bar. These labels will display the numerical values of each bar, effectively conveying the message. Right-click on the column bars and select Add Data Labels.

Example #2

We have previously discussed creating a graph with automatic data range selection. This section will guide us through building an Excel chart with manual data selection.

Step 1: To begin, position the cursor in an empty cell and click the Insert Chart option.

Step 2: A blank chart will appear on the screen.

Step 3: Right-click on the chart and choose the Select Data option.

Step 4: In the window that appears, click the Add button.

Select the data source.

Step 5: In the subsequent window, choose the appropriate heading for the data series under Series name and select the corresponding data series values under Series values.

Step 6: In the window that appears, click the Edit button on the right-hand side.

Step 7: A small dialog box will appear below after clicking the Edit option. This box will prompt us to select the Horizontal Axis Labels. Choose the column that contains the Year information.

Step 8: Each bar will display the corresponding Year label below.

Important Things To Note

• Choosing the appropriate chart type to convey information effectively is crucial when working with data.
• Various charts can be utilized for the same dataset, and it is essential to identify the most suitable one.
• Plotting a graph becomes straightforward without obstacles if the dataset is relatively small.

1. Are there any advanced features or functions related to charts and graphs that I should know about?

• One crucial aspect to remember is the ability to customize the appearance of our charts and graphs. This includes modifying fonts, colors, and backgrounds to align with our brand or specific requirements.
Furthermore, we can add multiple data sets or series within a single chart, enabling us to compare various variables simultaneously.
• Another essential feature is the option to include trendlines, which represent patterns or relationships in the data more clearly, enhancing accuracy and aiding in making predictions.

2. What is the importance of using charts and graphs in Excel?

• These visual tools enhance information by presenting it as visually appealing and easily interpretable.
• By condensing large volumes of numerical data into easily understandable graphical representations, charts and graphs facilitate decision-making processes by enabling professionals to identify patterns, trends, and outliers quickly.
• Moreover, these visual aids aid in identifying relationships between various variables, making it easier to spot correlations or discrepancies that may be crucial for business analysis or strategic planning.

3. How do I create a basic chart or graph in Excel?

To demonstrate how to create a Column Chart in Excel, follow these steps:
Step 1: Select the table data we wish to incorporate into a Column Chart.
Step 2: Navigate to the Insert tab.
Step 3: From the Charts group, choose the Insert Column or Bar Chart option.
Step 4: Click the downward arrow button accompanying the Insert Column or Bar Chart option.
Step 5: Select our desired formatting for the Excel Column Chart from the drop-down list.

Step 6: The resulting Column Chart is shown in the image below.