Excel Tutorial: How To Make A Line Graph In Excel 2016


Welcome to our Excel tutorial on how to make a line graph in Excel 2016. In this post, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating a line graph in Excel 2016 and provide you with the necessary skills to effectively communicate data visually. Knowing how to create a line graph in Excel 2016 is crucial for anyone working with data, as it enables you to present trends and patterns in a clear and concise manner.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating a line graph in Excel 2016 is crucial for effectively communicating data visually.
  • Understanding the purpose and importance of line graphs in data visualization is essential for working with data.
  • Organizing data and ensuring it is in the correct format is important before creating a line graph in Excel.
  • Adding labels and titles to a line graph is important for clarity and understanding.
  • Formatting and styling the line graph can enhance its visual appeal and effectiveness.

Understanding Line Graphs

When it comes to visualizing data in Excel 2016, line graphs are a powerful tool. Understanding how to create and interpret line graphs is essential for anyone working with data.

A. Define what a line graph is

A line graph is a type of chart that displays information as a series of data points connected by straight line segments. It is commonly used to show how data changes over time or to compare trends across different categories.

B. Explain the uses of line graphs in data visualization

Line graphs are widely used in data visualization for several reasons. They are effective in showing trends and patterns over time, making them useful for tracking changes in data. Additionally, line graphs can help in identifying correlations or relationships between variables, making them a valuable tool for analysis.

Furthermore, line graphs are easy to interpret and can convey complex information in a clear and concise manner. This makes them suitable for presenting data to a wide audience, including stakeholders and decision-makers.

Data Preparation

Before creating a line graph in Excel, it is essential to organize the data properly to ensure an accurate and visually effective representation.

A. Importance of organizing data

Organizing the data is crucial as it allows for a clear and coherent presentation of the information. Without proper organization, the line graph may not effectively convey the intended message to the audience.

B. Required format of data

The required format for creating a line graph in Excel is typically a two-column format, with the first column representing the independent variable (e.g., time, category) and the second column representing the dependent variable (e.g., value, frequency).

1. Independent variable

  • The independent variable should be listed in a single column, with each data point in a separate cell.
  • It should be labeled clearly at the top of the column to indicate what it represents.

2. Dependent variable

  • The dependent variable should also be listed in a single column, corresponding to the independent variable data points.
  • Similar to the independent variable, it should be labeled clearly at the top of the column.

By following these guidelines for data preparation, you can ensure that your line graph in Excel is accurate and effectively communicates the intended information.

Creating a Line Graph in Excel 2016

Excel 2016 provides a powerful tool for creating visual representations of data, such as line graphs. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a line graph in Excel 2016.

A. Step-by-step instructions for selecting data and inserting a line graph
  • Selecting Data

    To create a line graph in Excel 2016, start by selecting the data you want to include in the graph. This typically involves selecting the x-axis and y-axis data, which can be done by clicking and dragging your mouse over the cells containing the data.

  • Inserting a Line Graph

    Once you have selected your data, navigate to the "Insert" tab at the top of the Excel window. From there, click on the "Line Graph" option and select the specific type of line graph you want to create, such as a basic line graph or a 3D line graph.

B. Tips for customizing the appearance of the line graph
  • Changing the Title and Axis Labels

    To customize the appearance of your line graph, you can change the title and axis labels by clicking on them and entering new text. This allows you to provide a clear and descriptive title for your graph, as well as label the x-axis and y-axis with specific categories or measurements.

  • Adjusting the Line Style and Color

    You can also customize the appearance of the lines in your graph by adjusting the line style and color. This can be done by right-clicking on the lines and selecting the "Format Data Series" option, which allows you to change the line style, color, and other visual elements of the graph.

  • Adding Data Labels and Legends

    To make your line graph more informative, consider adding data labels and a legend. Data labels display the exact value of each data point on the graph, while a legend provides a key for interpreting the different lines on the graph.

Adding Labels and Titles

When creating a line graph in Excel 2016, it is important to add labels and titles to provide context and clarity to the data being presented. Labels and titles help the audience understand the information being displayed and make the graph more visually appealing.

Importance of adding labels and titles to a line graph

  • Labels and titles help to identify the data series and categories on the graph.
  • They provide a clear explanation of what the graph is displaying, making it easier for the audience to interpret the information.
  • Adding labels and titles makes the graph more professional and visually appealing.

Step-by-step guide for adding labels and titles in Excel 2016

  • Title: To add a title to the graph, click on the chart area to select it. Then, go to the "Chart Tools" tab, click on "Layout," and in the "Labels" group, click "Chart Title." Choose where you want the title to appear (above the chart or centered overlay) and type in the title in the placeholder that appears on the chart.
  • X-axis and Y-axis labels: Click on the axis labels to select them. Then, go to the "Chart Tools" tab, click on "Layout," and in the "Labels" group, click "Axis Titles." Choose whether you want to add a title for the horizontal axis (X-axis) or the vertical axis (Y-axis). Type in the axis title in the placeholders that appear on the chart.
  • Data series labels: Click on the data series in the chart to select them. Then, go to the "Chart Tools" tab, click on "Format," and in the "Current Selection" group, choose "Series." In the "Format Data Series" pane, click on "Series Options" and type in the name for the data series in the "Series Name" box.

Formatting and Styling

When it comes to creating a visually appealing line graph in Excel 2016, there are a few tips and tricks that can help make your graph stand out. Additionally, you can customize the style and color of the graph to better fit your needs.

Tips for formatting the line graph to make it visually appealing

  • Axis Labels: Make sure to add clear and descriptive axis labels to ensure that the information presented on the graph is easily understandable.
  • Data Labels: Consider adding data labels to the data points on the graph to provide specific values or percentages, making it easier for viewers to interpret the data.
  • Gridlines: Adjust the gridlines to improve the readability of the graph, making it easier to follow the trend and data points.
  • Title: Include a clear and concise title that effectively summarizes the data being presented in the graph.
  • Legend: If your graph includes multiple data series, add a legend to clearly identify which line corresponds to which data set.

Explanation of how to change the style and color of the line graph

Excel 2016 offers a variety of customization options for line graphs, allowing you to change the style and color to better suit your preferences.

  • Line Style: To change the style of the line, right-click on the data series and select "Format Data Series." From there, you can choose from various line styles, such as dashed or dotted lines, to enhance the visual appeal of the graph.
  • Line Color: Similarly, you can change the color of the line by selecting "Line Color" in the formatting options. This allows you to match the graph with your preferred color scheme or highlight specific data points.
  • Fill Color: If desired, you can also change the fill color of the data points on the line graph to further customize the appearance of the graph.


In conclusion, we have discussed the step-by-step process of creating a line graph in Excel 2016. We covered how to input data, select the data range, insert the chart, and customize the graph to suit your needs. By following these simple steps, you can effectively visualize your data and make informed decisions based on the insights you gain from the graph.

I encourage you to practice creating line graphs in Excel 2016 to improve your data visualization skills. The more you practice, the more comfortable and efficient you will become at creating and interpreting various types of graphs. With these skills, you can enhance your presentations, reports, and analytical capabilities in your professional or academic pursuits.

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