Excel Tutorial: How To Make A Line Graph In Excel 2020


Welcome to our Excel tutorial on how to create a line graph in Excel 2020. In this tutorial, we will cover the step-by-step process of making a line graph, including selecting data, choosing the right type of graph, and customizing the appearance of your graph. Knowing how to create a line graph in Excel is essential for anyone who works with data, as it allows you to visually represent trends and patterns in your data, making it easier for others to understand and interpret your findings.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating a line graph in Excel is essential for visually representing data trends and patterns
  • Inputting data accurately is crucial for creating an effective line graph
  • Customizing the appearance of the line graph, including axis labels and colors, enhances its visual impact
  • Adding elements such as trendlines and data labels can provide additional insights to the graph
  • Mastery of creating line graphs in Excel is important for effective data analysis and communication of findings

Step 1: Open Excel and input data

Before creating a line graph in Excel, you need to open a new spreadsheet and input the data you want to use for the graph.

A. How to open a new Excel spreadsheet

To open a new Excel spreadsheet, simply launch the Excel application on your computer. Once the program is open, click on the "File" tab at the top left corner of the screen, and then select "New" to open a new blank spreadsheet.

B. Guidelines for inputting data for the line graph

When inputting data for a line graph, it is important to format your data in a way that Excel can understand and display properly. Here are some guidelines for inputting data for a line graph:

  • Input your data into adjacent columns or rows. For example, if you are plotting the sales data for different months, you can input the months in one column and the corresponding sales figures in the adjacent column.
  • Ensure that each set of data is clearly labeled. Use the first row or column to label what each set of data represents. For example, you can label the columns as "Month" and "Sales" to indicate what each column represents.
  • Check for any empty cells or cells with incorrect data. It is important to make sure that your data is clean and free of any errors or missing values before creating the line graph.

Step 2: Select the data for the line graph

Once you have your spreadsheet open and have input your data, the next step is to select the specific data that you want to use to create your line graph.

A. How to highlight the data for the line graph

To highlight the data for your line graph, simply click and drag your cursor over the range of cells that contain the data you want to include in the graph. You can select multiple rows and columns if needed. Make sure to include the column headers and row labels if you want them to appear on the graph.

Pro tip: If your data is in a non-contiguous range, hold down the Ctrl key (Command key on a Mac) while selecting the additional ranges of data.

B. Tips for selecting the correct data range

  • Ensure that the data you select accurately represents the information you want to visualize. Double-check for any outliers or anomalies that may skew the graph.
  • Make sure your data is organized in a logical and consistent manner. This will help you create a clear and easy-to-understand line graph.
  • Consider the time period or categories you want to represent on the x-axis, and select the corresponding data for the y-axis.

Step 3: Insert the line graph

After preparing your data and selecting the range for your line graph, the next step is to actually insert the graph into your Excel sheet. Here’s how you can do it:

A. Locating the "Insert" tab in Excel

Locate the "Insert" tab at the top of the Excel window. This tab contains all the options for adding different elements to your spreadsheet, including charts and graphs.

B. Choosing the line graph option from the chart menu

Once you are in the "Insert" tab, look for the "Charts" group. Click on the "Insert Line or Area Chart" option to open the dropdown menu. From here, you can select the specific type of line graph you want to use, such as a basic 2-D line graph or a more advanced 3-D line graph.

Step 4: Customize the line graph

Once you have created your line graph in Excel, you may want to customize it to make it more visually appealing and easier to understand.

A. Adjusting the axis labels and titles
  • Edit axis labels:

    To edit the axis labels, simply click on the axis you want to edit, then right-click and select “Format Axis.” From there, you can customize the labels, font, and other settings to your preference.
  • Modify chart titles:

    To modify the chart title, click on the title, then right-click and select “Edit Text.” You can change the text, font, size, and color of the title to better suit your graph.

B. Changing the color and style of the line graph
  • Change line color:

    To change the color of the lines in your graph, click on the line you want to modify, then right-click and select “Format Data Series.” Under the “Fill & Line” tab, you can change the color, style, and weight of the line.
  • Adjust line style:

    In addition to changing the color, you can also adjust the style of the lines in your graph. This can be done by selecting the line, right-clicking, and choosing “Format Data Series.” From there, you can modify the dash type, cap type, and join type to achieve the desired look for your graph.

Step 5: Add additional elements to the line graph

Now that you have created a basic line graph, you can enhance it further by adding additional elements to make it more informative and visually appealing.

  • A. Including a trendline to the graph

  • If you want to analyze the overall trend of your data, you can add a trendline to your line graph. To do this, simply click on the line on your graph to select it. Then, right-click and choose "Add Trendline" from the menu. You can then select the type of trendline you want to add, such as linear, exponential, or logarithmic, and customize its appearance to best fit your data.

  • B. Incorporating data labels for better visualization

  • Data labels can provide additional context to your line graph by displaying specific data points directly on the graph itself. To add data labels, click on the line graph to select it, then right-click and choose "Add Data Labels" from the menu. You can then customize the appearance of the data labels to show the exact values of the data points or the series name.


Recap: In this tutorial, we covered the steps for creating a line graph in Excel 2020. We started by selecting the data range, then inserted a line graph, and finally formatted the graph to make it visually appealing and easy to understand.

Importance: Mastering the skill of creating line graphs in Excel is crucial for effective data analysis. Line graphs allow us to visualize trends and patterns in data, making it easier to make informed decisions and identify opportunities for improvement.

By following the simple steps outlined in this tutorial, you can confidently create and customize line graphs in Excel to enhance your data analysis skills.

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