Excel Tutorial: How To Change The Chart Type In Excel


Changing chart types in Excel is a crucial skill for anyone working with data and wanting to present it visually. Different types of data may require different types of charts to effectively communicate the insights hidden within. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the steps of changing chart types in Excel, so you can confidently create impactful visual representations of your data.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding different chart types in Excel is crucial for effective data visualization.
  • Choosing the right chart type for your data can greatly impact the insights you can communicate.
  • Accessing and using the Chart Tools tab in Excel is essential for modifying chart types.
  • Customizing the new chart type with titles, labels, and visual enhancements is important for clarity.
  • Following best practices for choosing chart types can improve the overall effectiveness of your data visualization.

Understanding Chart Types in Excel

Charts are a powerful tool in Excel for visually representing data. There are several different types of charts available in Excel, each with its own unique features and use cases.

A. Explain the different types of charts available in Excel

Bar Charts: Bar charts are used to compare values across different categories. They are effective for showing trends over time or comparisons between different items.

Line Charts: Line charts are used to show trends over time, making them ideal for displaying data that changes continuously over a period of time.

Pie Charts: Pie charts are used to show the proportion of each item in a data set, making it easy to see the relative sizes of the different categories.

Scatter Plots: Scatter plots are used to show the relationship between two sets of data, making it easy to identify any patterns or correlations.

Area Charts: Area charts are similar to line charts, but the area below the line is filled with color, making it easy to see the total value across different categories.

B. Discuss the importance of choosing the right chart type for your data

It is crucial to choose the right chart type for your data in order to effectively communicate your findings. Using the wrong chart type can misrepresent the data and lead to misinterpretation. For example, using a pie chart to show a trend over time would not be an effective way to visualize the data. Consider the message you want to convey and the type of data you are working with to select the appropriate chart type. Taking the time to choose the right chart type will ensure that your data is accurately and clearly communicated to your audience.

Accessing the Chart Tools in Excel

When working with charts in Excel, it is essential to know how to access the Chart Tools to be able to modify and customize your charts. This guide will show you the steps to select the chart you want to modify and locate the Chart Tools tab in Excel.

A. Selecting the chart to modify
  • To change the chart type in Excel, first, you need to select the chart you want to modify. Click on the chart to select it. You will know that the chart is selected when you see the border and handles around it.

B. Locating the Chart Tools tab
  • The Chart Tools tab is located in the Excel ribbon. When you select the chart, the Chart Tools tab will appear at the top of the Excel window, next to the other tabs such as Home, Insert, and Page Layout.

  • Click on the Chart Tools tab to access the Design, Layout, and Format tabs, which contain the various options and tools for customizing your chart, including the option to change the chart type.

Changing the Chart Type

Excel offers a wide range of chart types to choose from, allowing you to customize your data visualization to best suit your needs. Follow these step-by-step instructions to change the chart type in Excel.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Select the Chart: Begin by clicking on the chart that you want to modify. This will activate the Chart Tools tab in the Excel ribbon.
  • Change the Chart Type: Within the Chart Tools tab, you will find the Design and Format tabs. Click on the Design tab and locate the Change Chart Type button in the Type group.
  • Choose a New Chart Type: When you click on the Change Chart Type button, a dialog box will appear, displaying all the available chart types. Select the desired chart type from the list. You can also choose different sub-types and options for the selected chart type.
  • Apply the Changes: After making your selection, click OK to apply the new chart type to your chart.

Visual Aids

For a visual guide on how to change the chart type in Excel, refer to the screenshots below:


By following these simple steps and using the provided visual aids, you can easily change the chart type in Excel to best present your data.

Customizing the New Chart Type

After changing the chart type in Excel, it's important to further customize the chart to meet your specific needs and make it more visually appealing. Here are some tips on how to do that:

A. Discuss how to further customize the new chart type

Once you have changed the chart type, you may want to add titles, data labels, axis labels, and other elements to provide context and clarity to your chart.

  • Add Titles: Use the "Chart Title" and "Axis Titles" options to add titles to your chart. This will help your audience understand what the chart is depicting.
  • Add Data Labels: Data labels can be added to data points in the chart to show the exact values or percentages represented by the data points.
  • Customize Axis Labels: You can customize the axis labels to ensure that they are clear and easy to read. This can be done by adjusting the font size, color, and style.
  • Adjust Legend: If your chart includes a legend, you can customize it to ensure it is easy to understand and visually appealing.

B. Provide tips on making the chart visually appealing and easy to understand

Making your chart visually appealing and easy to understand is crucial for effectively communicating your data. Here are some tips to achieve this:

  • Choose the Right Color Scheme: Use a color scheme that is visually appealing and helps to differentiate between different data series in the chart.
  • Use Clear and Concise Labels: Ensure that all labels, titles, and any other text in the chart are clear and easy to read. Avoid cluttering the chart with unnecessary information.
  • Use Descriptive Chart Titles: Your chart title should clearly indicate what the chart is representing. Use a descriptive title that provides context without being too long.
  • Align Data Labels Properly: If you are using data labels, make sure they are aligned properly and do not overlap with other elements in the chart.

Best Practices for Choosing Chart Types

When it comes to creating charts in Excel, choosing the right chart type is crucial for effectively communicating your data. Here are some best practices to consider when selecting the appropriate chart type for your data:

A. Offer advice on how to choose the best chart type for different types of data
  • Consider the data attributes: Before selecting a chart type, consider the data attributes such as the number of variables, the data distribution, and the relationship between variables.
  • Bar and column charts for comparisons: Use bar and column charts for comparing distinct categories or displaying changes over time.
  • Line charts for trends: Use line charts to show trends over time or to display continuous data.
  • Pie charts for composition: Pie charts are useful for showing the composition of data and comparing categories as parts of a whole.
  • Scatter plots for relationships: Use scatter plots to display the relationship between two variables or to identify patterns in the data.

B. Address common mistakes to avoid when selecting chart types
  • Avoid using the wrong chart type: Using an inappropriate chart type can misrepresent the data and make it difficult for the audience to interpret the information accurately.
  • Avoid overcomplicating the chart: Keep the chart simple and easy to understand by avoiding unnecessary elements and clutter.
  • Avoid misleading visuals: Ensure that the chart accurately represents the data and does not distort the information or mislead the audience.
  • Avoid excessive use of colors and effects: Limit the use of colors and effects to enhance the readability of the chart and avoid overwhelming the audience with unnecessary visuals.


In summary, changing the chart type in Excel is a simple yet powerful way to enhance the visual representation of your data. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can easily transform your charts to better suit your presentation or analysis needs. We encourage all readers to practice changing chart types in Excel to improve their data visualization skills and make their reports and presentations more impactful.

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