Excel Tutorial: How To Add To A Chart In Excel


When it comes to presenting data and information, charts are an invaluable tool in Microsoft Excel. However, simply creating a chart is not always enough. In this tutorial, we will explore how to add to a chart in Excel, allowing you to manipulate and customize your charts to effectively communicate your message.

Being able to manipulate and customize charts in Excel is crucial for creating visually appealing and informative presentations. Whether you need to add additional data points, adjust the formatting, or enhance the visual appeal, having a solid understanding of how to modify charts in Excel can elevate the quality and impact of your reports and presentations.

Key Takeaways

  • Charts are an invaluable tool for presenting data and information in Microsoft Excel.
  • Being able to manipulate and customize charts is crucial for creating visually appealing and informative presentations.
  • Understanding the basics of charts, such as different types available, is important for effective chart creation.
  • Adding data to an existing chart and customizing chart elements can enhance the visual appeal and impact of the chart.
  • Utilizing Excel's recommended charts feature can efficiently aid in creating new charts.

Understanding Chart Basics

A. Define what a chart is in Excel

A chart in Excel is a visual representation of data that allows users to easily analyze and interpret information. It presents data in a graphical format, making it easier to identify trends and patterns.

B. Explain the different types of charts available in Excel

  • Bar: Bar charts are used to compare values across different categories. They are represented by horizontal or vertical bars.
  • Line: Line charts are ideal for showing trends over time. They connect data points with a line, making it easy to see changes in the data.
  • Pie: Pie charts display the proportion of each data category as a slice of a pie. They are useful for showing the distribution of a data set.

Adding Data to an Existing Chart

Excel makes it easy to update an existing chart with new data. Whether you have additional data points to include or need to modify the existing data range, you can seamlessly integrate the new information into your chart.

Provide Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Add New Data to an Existing Chart

To add new data to an existing chart in Excel, follow these simple steps:

  • Select the Chart: Click on the chart to select it. This will display the chart tools in the ribbon.
  • Go to the Data Source: From the ribbon, click on the "Chart Tools" tab and then select "Select Data" in the "Data" group.
  • Add New Data Series: In the "Select Data Source" dialog box, click the "Add" button to add a new data series to the chart.
  • Enter Data Range: In the "Edit Series" dialog box, enter the range of cells containing the new data in the "Series values" field.
  • Click OK: Once you have entered the data range, click "OK" to add the new data to the chart.

Demonstrate How to Update the Data Range for the Chart

If you need to update the data range for an existing chart, you can easily do so by following these steps:

  • Open the Data Source: Select the chart, go to the "Chart Tools" tab, and click on "Select Data" in the "Data" group.
  • Edit Data Range: In the "Select Data Source" dialog box, click on the data series you want to edit, and then click the "Edit" button.
  • Modify Data Range: In the "Edit Series" dialog box, update the range of cells in the "Series values" field to reflect the new data range.
  • Click OK: Once you have adjusted the data range, click "OK" to update the chart with the new data range.

Customizing Chart Elements

When creating a chart in Excel, it's important to customize various elements to make the chart visually appealing and effectively convey your data. Here are some key elements you can customize in Excel charts:

A. Changing the Chart Title

If you want to change the title of your chart to better reflect the data it represents, you can easily do so in Excel. Simply click on the chart title to select it, and then type in the new title you want to use. You can also format the text, change the font, and adjust the size of the title to make it stand out.

B. Editing Axis Labels and Values

Axis labels and values play a crucial role in helping viewers understand the data in your chart. To edit the axis labels and values, click on the axis you want to modify, then right-click and select "Format Axis." From there, you can customize the labels and values, including changing the text, formatting the numbers, and adjusting the intervals.

C. Formatting the Chart to Make it Visually Appealing

To make your chart visually appealing, there are various formatting options you can use in Excel. You can change the color, style, and thickness of the chart elements such as bars, lines, and data points. You can also add data labels, adjust the chart axis, and apply different chart layouts and styles to enhance the visual appeal of your chart.

Adding a Trendline or Secondary Axis

Charts in Excel are great for visualizing data, but sometimes you need to add more context to your chart to make it even more informative. This is where adding a trendline or a secondary axis comes in handy.

A. Adding a Trendline to a Chart

Adding a trendline to a chart in Excel is a simple process that can help you visualize the trend in your data. Here's how to do it:

  • Select the chart: Click on the chart to select it.
  • Add Chart Element: Go to the "Chart Tools" tab in the Excel ribbon, click on "Add Chart Element," and then select "Trendline" from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose Trendline Type: Once you select "Trendline," you can choose the type of trendline you want to add, such as linear, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, power, or moving average.
  • Format the Trendline: After adding the trendline, you can format it by right-clicking on the trendline and selecting "Format Trendline." This allows you to customize the appearance and options for the trendline.


In a sales chart, adding a linear trendline can help you identify the overall sales trend over a period of time, making it easier to predict future sales.

B. Adding a Secondary Axis for Additional Data Comparison

Adding a secondary axis to a chart in Excel allows you to compare different sets of data that have different scales. Here's how to add a secondary axis:

  • Select the Data Series: Click on the data series in the chart that you want to plot on the secondary axis.
  • Change Chart Type: Right-click on the selected data series, go to "Change Series Chart Type," and then select the chart type that corresponds to the secondary axis (e.g., line chart for a secondary axis with a different scale).
  • Add Secondary Axis: After changing the chart type for the selected data series, right-click on the data series again, and then select "Format Data Series." In the "Format Data Series" pane, choose the option to plot the selected data series on the secondary axis.


In a sales and profit chart, adding a secondary axis for profit can help you compare the sales and profit data, even if they have different scales, providing a clearer picture of the relationship between the two sets of data.

Using Excel's Recommended Charts Feature

Excel's recommended charts feature is a powerful tool that can help you quickly create a new chart with just a few clicks. In this chapter, we will discuss how to use this feature and highlight the benefits of utilizing it for efficient chart creation.

Discuss how to use Excel's recommended charts feature to quickly create a new chart

When you have your data selected in Excel, go to the Insert tab and click on the Recommended Charts button. Excel will then suggest a range of charts that best fit your data. You can preview each chart and select the one that best suits your needs. Once selected, click OK, and the chart will be inserted into your worksheet.

Highlight the benefits of utilizing this feature for efficient chart creation

Time-saving: Excel's recommended charts feature saves you time by eliminating the need to manually choose and create a chart from scratch. It analyzes your data and provides you with a selection of suitable chart options, making the process much quicker.

Professional-looking charts: The recommended charts feature helps you create professional-looking charts with minimal effort. The suggested charts are based on the nature of your data, ensuring that your chart effectively communicates your message.

Exploration of options: This feature allows you to explore different chart types and styles that you may not have considered. It provides you with a variety of options, giving you the opportunity to experiment and find the best representation for your data.


Being able to add to and customize charts in Excel is essential for creating clear and impactful visual representations of data. Whether you are a student, a professional, or just someone who loves working with data, these skills will be invaluable in presenting information effectively and making informed decisions. I encourage you to practice these skills and explore more advanced chart features in Excel to further enhance your data visualization abilities.

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