Excel Tutorial: How To Chart Excel


Welcome to our Excel tutorial on how to chart in Excel! Charting in Excel is a fundamental skill that allows you to visually represent data, making it easier to analyze and understand. Whether you are creating reports for work, analyzing data for a project, or simply organizing your personal finances, knowing how to chart in Excel is an essential skill that can greatly enhance your data visualization abilities.

Key Takeaways

  • Charting in Excel is a fundamental skill that greatly enhances data visualization abilities
  • Understanding the different chart types and their purposes is essential for creating effective charts
  • Creating and customizing charts in Excel requires selecting the right data and utilizing chart tools
  • Analyzing data with Excel charts allows for interpretation and presentation of data insights
  • Following best practices and avoiding common mistakes ensures the accuracy and effectiveness of charted data

Understanding the Charting Options in Excel

When it comes to visualizing data in Excel, there are a variety of chart types available to choose from. Understanding the different charting options and their purposes can help you make the most out of your data.

A. Discuss the different chart types available in Excel
  • Column Charts: These charts are used to compare values across different categories.
  • Bar Charts: Similar to column charts, but the categories are displayed horizontally.
  • Line Charts: Ideal for showing trends over time or comparing multiple data series.
  • Pie Charts: Used to show the proportion of parts to the whole.
  • Area Charts: Similar to line charts, but the area below the line is filled with color.
  • Scatter Plots: These charts are used to show the relationship between two sets of data.
  • Radar Charts: Showcase the value of multiple data points relative to a central point.
  • Combo Charts: These charts combine two or more chart types to visualize different data sets together.

B. Explain the purpose of each chart type
  • Column/Bar Charts: Used for comparing data across categories.
  • Line Charts: Ideal for showing trends over time or comparing multiple data series.
  • Pie Charts: Show the proportion of parts to the whole.
  • Area Charts: Similar to line charts, but the area below the line is filled with color.
  • Scatter Plots: Show the relationship between two sets of data.
  • Radar Charts: Visualize the value of multiple data points relative to a central point.
  • Combo Charts: Combine different chart types to visualize multiple data sets together.

C. Provide examples of when to use each chart type
  • Column/Bar Charts: Use for comparing sales figures across different regions.
  • Line Charts: Ideal for showing the sales trends of a product over time.
  • Pie Charts: Show the percentage breakdown of a company's expenses.
  • Area Charts: Compare the revenue streams of different product categories over time.
  • Scatter Plots: Display the relationship between advertising expenditure and sales revenue.
  • Radar Charts: Visualize the performance of different employees across multiple criteria.
  • Combo Charts: Combine a bar chart and line chart to compare sales figures and trends together.

How to Create a Chart in Excel

Charts are a powerful tool for visualizing and analyzing data in Excel. Whether you want to compare trends, show relationships, or track changes over time, creating a chart can help you present your data in a clear and easily understandable way. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the steps of inserting a chart into an Excel spreadsheet, selecting the right data for your chart, and customizing its appearance and layout.

Step-by-step guide on how to insert a chart into an Excel spreadsheet

Creating a chart in Excel is a straightforward process. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  • Select your data: The first step in creating a chart is to select the data that you want to include in the chart. This can be done by clicking and dragging to highlight the data in your spreadsheet.
  • Go to the Insert tab: Once you have selected your data, navigate to the Insert tab in the Excel ribbon.
  • Choose a chart type: In the Charts group, you will see a variety of chart types to choose from, such as bar, line, pie, and more. Click on the desired chart type to insert it into your spreadsheet.
  • Customize your chart: After inserting the chart, you can further customize it by adding titles, legends, data labels, and more. Simply click on the chart elements to make changes as needed.

Tips for selecting the right data to create an effective chart

When creating a chart in Excel, it's essential to select the right data to ensure that your chart effectively communicates the information you want to convey. Here are some tips for selecting the right data:

  • Choose relevant data: Only include data that is directly related to the message you want to convey with your chart. Extraneous data can clutter the chart and make it less effective.
  • Ensure data is organized: Make sure that your data is organized in a logical manner, with the independent variable (e.g., time, category) in one column and the dependent variable in another.
  • Avoid overwhelming the chart: Try not to include too much data in a single chart, as it can make the chart difficult to interpret. Consider creating multiple charts or using different chart types to showcase different aspects of your data.

Customizing the chart appearance and layout

Excel provides a range of options for customizing the appearance and layout of your chart. Here are some common customization options:

  • Change chart type: If you want to switch to a different chart type, you can easily do so by selecting the chart and then choosing a new chart type from the Design tab in the Excel ribbon.
  • Adjust chart elements: You can add or remove chart elements, such as titles, data labels, and axes, by clicking on the chart and then using the Chart Elements button in the top-right corner of the chart.
  • Modify chart style: Excel offers a variety of pre-designed chart styles that you can apply to your chart to change its appearance. Simply use the Chart Styles gallery in the Design tab to choose a new style.

Using Chart Tools in Excel

Charts are a powerful tool in Excel that can help visualize and analyze data. In this tutorial, we will explore the various chart tools available in Excel and demonstrate how to use them to enhance the chart.

Exploring the various chart tools available in Excel

Excel offers a wide range of chart tools that allow users to customize and manipulate their charts in numerous ways. These tools include:

  • Chart Styles: Excel provides a variety of pre-defined chart styles that can be easily applied to the chart to change its appearance.
  • Chart Elements: Users can add or remove chart elements such as axes, titles, data labels, and legends to make the chart more informative and visually appealing.
  • Chart Filters: This tool allows users to filter specific data points in the chart to focus on particular aspects of the data.

Demonstrating how to use these tools to enhance the chart

Once the chart tools have been explored, it's essential to understand how to use them effectively to enhance the chart. Here are some basic steps to follow:

  • Apply Chart Styles: Select the chart and choose a suitable style from the "Chart Styles" dropdown menu in the "Design" tab.
  • Add Chart Elements: Click on the "+" icon next to the chart, select the desired elements, and customize them as needed to make the chart more informative.
  • Utilize Chart Filters: Use the "Chart Filters" button to display only specific data series, categories, or individual data points in the chart.

Tips for formatting the chart to make it visually appealing

Formatting the chart is crucial to make it visually appealing and easy to understand. Here are some tips for formatting the chart effectively:

  • Use Appropriate Colors: Choose colors that complement each other and are easy on the eyes.
  • Adjust Font Sizes: Ensure that the text on the chart is legible by adjusting the font sizes appropriately.
  • Align and Position Elements: Align and position chart elements such as titles, labels, and legends neatly to avoid clutter and confusion.

Analyzing Data with Excel Charts

Using charts to analyze data in Excel is an essential skill that can help individuals and businesses make informed decisions based on trends and patterns. By visually representing data, charts can provide valuable insights that may not be immediately apparent from the raw numbers.

Discuss the importance of data analysis using charts in Excel

Data Visualization: Charts allow for the visualization of data, making it easier to identify trends, outliers, and patterns. This visual representation can help in understanding the data more effectively than looking at rows and columns of numbers.

Identifying Relationships: Charts can also help in identifying relationships between different sets of data. For example, a scatter plot can show the correlation between two variables, while a line chart can demonstrate trends over time.

Exploring how to interpret and draw conclusions from the charted data

Understanding Trends: When analyzing data using charts in Excel, it's important to look for trends and patterns. This could involve examining the direction and steepness of a line in a line chart, or identifying clusters and outliers in a scatter plot.

Comparing Data: Charts can also be used to compare different sets of data. For example, a bar chart can be used to compare sales performance across different regions or product categories, providing valuable insights for decision-making.

Tips for using charts to present data insights to others

Use Clear and Simple Visuals: When presenting data using charts, it's important to use clear and simple visuals that are easy to interpret. Avoid cluttering the chart with unnecessary elements and focus on the key insights that need to be communicated.

Provide Context and Explanation: When sharing data insights with others, it's important to provide context and explanation for the charts. This could involve highlighting key findings, explaining the methodology used, and offering interpretations of the data.

Best Practices for Charting in Excel

When creating charts in Excel, it's important to follow best practices to ensure that your charts are clear, effective, and accurate.

A. Providing tips for creating clear and effective charts
  • Select the right chart type: Choose a chart type that best represents your data, such as bar charts for comparing different categories or line charts for showing trends over time.
  • Use clear labeling: Make sure to label your axes and data points clearly so that the information is easily understandable.
  • Keep it simple: Avoid cluttering your chart with unnecessary elements. Keep it simple and focus on the most important data.

B. Discussing common mistakes to avoid when charting in Excel
  • Using 3D effects: 3D effects can distort the visual representation of data and make it harder to interpret. Stick to 2D charts for clear and accurate representation.
  • Overloading with data: Avoid including too much information in a single chart. Break down complex data into separate charts to maintain clarity.
  • Ignoring data accuracy: Ensure that the data used in the chart is accurate and up to date to avoid misleading representations.

C. Tips for ensuring the accuracy of the charted data
  • Double-check data inputs: Before creating a chart, double-check the input data to ensure that there are no errors or inconsistencies.
  • Use data validation: Implement data validation techniques to prevent incorrect data entry and maintain accuracy.
  • Regularly update data: If your chart is based on changing data, make sure to regularly update the chart to reflect the latest information.


After learning the basics of charting in Excel, it's clear that creating visually appealing and informative charts is a valuable skill for anyone working with data. By practicing the techniques discussed in this tutorial, readers can improve their data visualization skills and create impactful charts for presentations, reports, and analysis.

It's important to continue learning and exploring advanced charting features in Excel. Further learning resources such as online tutorials, Excel help documentation, and community forums can provide additional insights and tips for mastering the art of charting in Excel.

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