Excel Tutorial: How To Create A Graph On Excel


Creating graphs in Excel is an essential skill for anyone working with data. Graphs can help visualize data in a clear and concise manner, making it easier to understand and interpret. In this tutorial, we will cover the steps to create a graph in Excel, from selecting the data to choosing the right type of graph to effectively communicate your findings.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating graphs in Excel is essential for visualizing data
  • Organizing and understanding the data is crucial before creating a graph
  • Choosing the right graph type and customizing it is important for effective communication
  • Graphs provide insights and can drive data-driven decisions
  • Practice and exploration with Excel graphs is encouraged for skill improvement

Understanding the data

Before creating a graph in Excel, it is important to have a clear understanding of the data that will be used. This includes organizing the data and identifying the variables to be plotted on the graph.

A. Organizing the data in Excel

Start by opening Excel and entering the data into a new spreadsheet. It is important to keep the data organized and neatly formatted to ensure accurate graphing. Use separate columns for each variable and rows for each data point.

B. Identifying the variables to be plotted on the graph

Once the data is organized, identify which variables will be plotted on the graph. For example, if you have data for sales over time, the variables may be "Date" and "Sales Amount." Understanding which variables will be plotted will help in selecting the appropriate graph type.

Creating a Graph on Excel: Selecting the Appropriate Graph Type

When it comes to creating a graph in Excel, one of the most important decisions you'll need to make is selecting the appropriate graph type for your data. This can greatly affect how your audience interprets and understands the information you're presenting. In this chapter, we'll explore the different graph types available in Excel and how to choose the most suitable one for your data.

A. Understanding the Different Graph Types Available in Excel
  • Column and Bar Graphs:

    These graph types are suitable for comparing values across different categories. Column graphs are vertical, while bar graphs are horizontal.
  • Line Graphs:

    Line graphs are ideal for showing trends over time and are commonly used in financial and scientific data analysis.
  • Pie Charts:

    Pie charts are useful for showing the composition of a whole, such as the percentage distribution of different categories.
  • Scatterplots:

    Scatterplots are helpful for visualizing the relationship between two sets of data points.
  • Area Charts:

    Area charts are similar to line graphs but fill the area beneath the lines, making them suitable for displaying cumulative totals over time.

B. Choosing the Most Suitable Graph Type for the Data

Once you understand the different graph types available in Excel, the next step is to choose the most suitable one for your specific data set. Consider the following factors when making your decision:

  • Data Attributes: Consider the nature of your data - is it categorical or numerical? Are you comparing values, showing trends, or displaying proportions?
  • Audience: Who will be viewing the graph? Different graph types may be more or less effective depending on your audience's familiarity with data visualization.
  • Message: What message do you want to convey with your graph? Is it a comparison, a trend, a composition, or a relationship?
  • Data Complexity: Some graph types are better suited for complex data sets with multiple variables, while others are more straightforward for simpler data.

Inputting the data into the graph

When creating a graph in Excel, the first step is to input the data that you want to include in the graph. This is essential for accurately representing the information you want to convey. Here are the steps for inputting the data into the graph:

A. Selecting the data range to be included in the graph

Before creating the graph, you need to select the data range that you want to include in the graph. This can be a range of cells or a table within your Excel worksheet. It's important to ensure that the data range accurately represents the information you want to visualize.

B. Using the "Insert" tab to create the graph

Once you've selected the data range, you can use the "Insert" tab in Excel to create the graph. This tab contains various options for different types of graphs, such as bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, and more. By selecting the appropriate graph type, Excel will automatically generate the graph based on the data range you've selected.

Customizing the graph

Once you have created a graph in Excel, you can customize it to make it more visually appealing and easier to understand. Here are a few ways to customize your graph:

A. Adding titles, labels, and legends to the graph
  • Title: To add a title to your graph, simply click on the chart to select it and then type the title into the "Chart Title" box. This will help viewers to quickly understand what the graph is representing.
  • Axis labels: You can add labels to the x-axis and y-axis by clicking on the "Axis Titles" options in the "Chart Elements" dropdown menu. This will help viewers understand the scale and units of measurement.
  • Legends: If your graph includes multiple data series, adding a legend can help viewers understand which data corresponds to which color or pattern in the graph. You can add a legend by clicking on the "Legend" option in the "Chart Elements" dropdown menu.

B. Formatting the appearance of the graph to make it visually appealing
  • Color and style: Excel offers a variety of options for changing the color, style, and size of elements in your graph, such as the bars in a bar graph or the lines in a line graph. You can access these formatting options by right-clicking on the element you want to format and selecting "Format Data Series" or "Format Data Point."
  • Gridlines and backgrounds: You can also change the appearance of the gridlines and background of your graph to help it stand out and improve readability. This can be done by right-clicking on the chart and selecting "Format Chart Area."
  • Fonts and text: Lastly, you can customize the appearance of the text in your graph, such as the font, size, and color. This can be done by selecting the text you want to format and using the options in the "Font" section of the "Home" tab.

Analyzing and interpreting the graph

When you create a graph in Excel, it's essential to understand the insights it provides and how to interpret the data it presents. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

A. Understanding the insights provided by the graph
  • Identifying trends: The graph can help you identify trends in the data, such as an increase or decrease over time, or seasonal patterns.
  • Comparing data: You can use the graph to compare different sets of data, such as sales figures for different products or regions.
  • Spotting outliers: The graph can reveal any outliers or anomalies in the data that may require further investigation.

B. Using the graph to make data-driven decisions
  • Setting goals: By analyzing the graph, you can set specific goals and targets based on the trends and patterns in the data.
  • Evaluating performance: The graph can help you assess the performance of a project, department, or individual based on the data visualized.
  • Identifying opportunities: You can use the graph to identify potential opportunities or areas for improvement within your organization.


In conclusion, this Excel tutorial has covered the key steps to creating a graph in Excel. We have discussed how to select the data, choose the appropriate graph type, and customize it to suit your needs. We encourage you to practice and explore further with Excel graphs to become more proficient in using this valuable tool for data visualization and analysis.

Remember, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will become with Excel graphs, and the more possibilities you will discover to present and interpret your data. Happy graphing!

Excel Dashboard

ONLY $99

    Immediate Download

    MAC & PC Compatible

    Free Email Support

Related aticles