Excel > Excel 2003 Intermediate > Charts

Creating a Chart

You can create many different types of chart in Excel to create the ideal visual representation of your data. The most common chart types in Excel include:

  • Column chart - used to compare different values side by side. Each value is represented by a column. Multiple data series are identified by different coloured columns.
  • Line chart - used to illustrate trends over time. Each value is plotted as a point and connected by a line through each point.
  • Pie chart - used for showing values as a percentage of a whole. Each value is represented by a different coloured segment of the pie.
  • Bar chart - like column charts but are displayed horizontally. Also used to compare vales side by side.
  • Area chart - like line charts except that the area beneath the line connecting the points is filled by a colour.
  • Scatter chart - used to plot a cluster of values. Multiple items can be plotted by using different coloured points.

There are a variety of other charts including Bubble, Doughnut and combination charts that all display data in a different manner. For now we will concentrate on creating one of the more basic charts.

To create a chart:

  1. Select the range containing the values and labels that you wish to chart
  2. Selecting the chart range

  3. Click the Chart Wizard button on the Standard toolbar Chart Wizard button
  4. The Chart Wizard appears. The wizard has 4 steps to creating the chart. Step 1 provides several different types of chart to choose from. Each chart also has several sub-types to choose from
  5. Selecting a chart type

  6. Click the chart type that you want from the list on the left and select a sub-type from the right. Click Next
  7. Step 2 asks for the charts source data. This was selected before clicking the Chart Wizard button so this step has been completed. A preview of the chart is displayed. Click Next
  8. If the chart preview is not correct, click the Chart Data Range reference button and select the range again

    Chart source data

  9. Step 3 is the Chart Options. The options include entering a chart title, modifying the legend and inserting data labels. We will change chart options later. Click Next
  10. Chart options

  11. The final step is to specify a location for the chart. The chart can be inserted on a new sheet or as an object on this or another sheet. The default is as an object on the active sheet. Click Finish
  12. Chart location

  13. The chart is displayed on the worksheet and a Chart toolbar and Chart menu appear.
  14. Embedded chart

    These will be used to format and customise the chart

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