Excel Tutorial: How To Build A Scatter Plot In Excel


Scatter plots are an essential tool for visualizing and analyzing data in Excel. They allow you to see the relationship between two variables and identify any patterns or trends that may exist. By plotting individual data points on a graph, you can visually assess the correlation between the variables, making it easier to interpret the data and draw conclusions.

Whether you're conducting a scientific study, analyzing sales figures, or studying trends in market research, using scatter plots in Excel can provide valuable insights that may not be immediately apparent from the raw data alone. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the steps to create a scatter plot in Excel, allowing you to harness the power of this fundamental data visualization tool.

Key Takeaways

  • Scatter plots are essential for visualizing and analyzing data in Excel.
  • They allow for the identification of patterns and trends in data.
  • Organizing data in two columns and labeling them appropriately is crucial for creating a scatter plot.
  • Customizing the scatter plot, adding labels and titles, and analyzing the plot are important steps in the process.
  • Creating scatter plots in Excel can improve data analysis skills and provide valuable insights.

Setting up your data

Before creating a scatter plot in Excel, it’s important to organize your data properly. Follow these steps to set up your data:

A. Organize your data in two columns

First, make sure your data is organized in two columns. The first column will represent the x-axis values, and the second column will represent the y-axis values. This will allow Excel to plot the points correctly on the scatter plot.

B. Label your columns appropriately

It’s important to label your columns appropriately so that Excel can recognize the data correctly. For example, if you’re plotting the relationship between temperature and ice cream sales, label the first column “Temperature” and the second column “Ice Cream Sales.” This will make it easier to create a clear and understandable scatter plot.

Inserting a scatter plot

When working with data in Excel, creating a scatter plot can be a powerful way to visualize the relationship between two variables. Here's how to easily insert a scatter plot in Excel:

A. Select your data

The first step in creating a scatter plot is to select the data that you want to plot. This typically involves selecting two columns of data, with one column representing the x-axis values and the other column representing the y-axis values.

B. Go to the "Insert" tab and click on "Scatter Plot"

Once your data is selected, navigate to the "Insert" tab in the Excel ribbon. From there, locate the "Charts" group and click on the "Scatter" dropdown menu. Choose the type of scatter plot that best suits your data, such as a simple scatter plot or a scatter plot with straight lines.

Customizing your scatter plot

Once you have created a scatter plot in Excel, you can also customize it to better represent your data.

Double click on the plot to open the formatting options

After creating your scatter plot, you can customize it by double clicking on the plot itself. This will open up a range of formatting options that allow you to make changes to the appearance of the plot.

Choose the style and color that best represent your data

Within the formatting options, you can choose from a range of styles and colors to best represent your data. You can experiment with different markers, lines, and colors to make the scatter plot visually appealing and easy to interpret.

Adding labels and titles

Once you have created a scatter plot in Excel, it’s important to add labels and titles to make your chart more informative and visually appealing. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Click on the "Chart Elements" button: In Excel, click on your scatter plot to select it, and then click on the green "+" icon that appears on the upper-right corner of the chart. This will open the "Chart Elements" menu.
  • Add axis labels, title, and a legend to your scatter plot: From the "Chart Elements" menu, you can choose to add or remove various elements to your scatter plot. To add axis labels, click on the "Axis Titles" option and select the type of label you want to add (e.g., Primary Horizontal, Primary Vertical). You can then enter the label names directly onto the chart. To add a title, click on the "Chart Title" option and choose the placement of the title (e.g., Above Chart, Centered Overlay). Enter your title text as needed. Finally, to add a legend, click on the "Legend" option and choose the position of the legend on the chart (e.g., Right, Top, Bottom). You can also customize the formatting and style of the legend from this menu.

Analyzing your scatter plot

After creating a scatter plot in Excel, it's important to analyze the data and draw insights from it. Here are a few key steps to consider when analyzing your scatter plot:

A. Look for patterns or trends in the data points
  • Identify clusters of data points

    Look for clusters of data points that may indicate a relationship between the variables. Are there any clear patterns or groupings in the data?

  • Examine the direction of the trend

    Is there a trend in the data? Consider whether the data points are moving in a particular direction or if there is no apparent trend.

  • Check for outliers

    Identify any outliers in the data that may skew the overall trend. Consider whether these outliers are significant or if they should be excluded from the analysis.

B. Use the scatter plot to identify relationships between variables
  • Correlation between variables

    Use the scatter plot to determine if there is a correlation between the variables. Are the variables positively or negatively correlated?

  • Strength of the relationship

    Evaluate the strength of the relationship between the variables based on the distribution of data points in the scatter plot. Is the relationship strong or weak?

  • Potential causal relationships

    Consider whether the scatter plot indicates a potential causal relationship between the variables. Can one variable be influencing the other?


In conclusion, building a scatter plot in Excel is a valuable skill for anyone working with data. It allows you to visualize the relationship between two variables and identify any potential patterns or trends. By mastering this technique, you can make better-informed decisions and spot any correlations that may not be immediately obvious from the raw data.

We encourage you to practice creating scatter plots in Excel to further enhance your data analysis skills and gain a deeper understanding of your data. The more you work with this tool, the more insights you can uncover from your data.

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