Excel Tutorial: How To Make A Line Graph In Excel With Two Columns Of Data


Line graphs are essential in data visualization as they allow us to easily see trends and patterns in our data. In this blog post, we will be going over how to create a line graph in Excel using two columns of data. Whether you're a student working on a project or a professional analyzing business data, knowing how to create a line graph can be a valuable skill.

Key Takeaways

  • Line graphs are essential in data visualization for identifying trends and patterns
  • Creating a line graph in Excel involves inputting data, selecting the data, and customizing the graph
  • It's important to choose the right type of line graph based on the data being presented
  • Adding additional data to a line graph can provide valuable insights and comparisons
  • Interpreting and optimizing a line graph is crucial for making data-driven decisions and reporting

Step-by-step guide on creating a line graph

Creating a line graph in Excel is an effective way to visually represent data and identify trends over time. Follow these simple steps to create your own line graph using two columns of data.

A. Open Excel and input data into two columns

Start by opening Microsoft Excel and entering your data into two separate columns. For example, you may have dates in column A and corresponding sales figures in column B. Make sure your data is organized and accurate before proceeding to the next step.

B. Select the data to be included in the graph

Next, highlight the cells containing the data you want to include in your line graph. This will typically involve selecting the cells in both columns that correspond to the same data points. For example, you would select both the date and sales figure for each data point.

C. Click on the 'Insert' tab and choose 'Line Graph' from the chart options

With your data selected, navigate to the 'Insert' tab at the top of the Excel window. From the chart options, choose 'Line Graph' to create a basic line graph using your selected data. This will generate a simple line graph on the same worksheet as your data.

D. Customize the graph by adding titles, labels, and adjusting the appearance

Finally, customize your line graph to make it more visually appealing and informative. You can add a title, axis labels, and a legend to clearly label the data represented in the graph. Additionally, you can adjust the appearance of the graph by changing the line style, color, and other visual elements to better suit your preferences.

Choosing the right type of line graph

Line graphs are a powerful tool for visualizing data trends over time. However, it's important to choose the right type of line graph to effectively communicate your data. Here's a look at the different types of line graphs available in Excel and when to use each one:

A. Discuss the different types of line graphs available in Excel

Excel offers several types of line graphs, including basic line graphs, stacked line graphs, and clustered line graphs. Each type has its own unique features and use cases.

B. Explain when to use a basic line graph, stacked line graph, or a clustered line graph

A basic line graph is most commonly used to show trends over time for a single data series. It is effective for displaying changes in one variable over time.

A stacked line graph is useful for comparing the total sizes across categories as well as the trend within each category.

A clustered line graph is ideal for comparing multiple data series within categories and displaying the changes in each series over time.

C. Provide examples of when each type of line graph is suitable for different data sets
  • Basic line graph: You might use a basic line graph to show the increase in sales over the past year for a single product.
  • Stacked line graph: A stacked line graph could be used to compare the total revenue from different departments within a company over time.
  • Clustered line graph: If you want to compare the performance of multiple products within different regions, a clustered line graph would be the best choice.

Adding Additional Data to the Line Graph

When creating a line graph in Excel, it is possible to add a third column of data to create a multi-line graph. This can be useful when comparing multiple sets of data over the same period of time.

Show how to add a third column of data to create a multi-line graph

  • Select the chart: Click on the line graph to select it.
  • Add data: Right-click on the chart and select "Select Data" from the drop-down menu. Click the "Add" button to add a new data series, then select the range of cells containing the data for the third column.
  • Label the data series: Give the new data series a name and click "OK."

Demonstrate how to customize the appearance of each line on the graph

After adding the third column of data, it is important to customize the appearance of each line on the graph to make it easier to distinguish between the different data sets.

  • Format the line: Right-click on the line you want to customize and select "Format Data Series" from the menu. Here, you can change the color, style, and thickness of the line to make it stand out.
  • Add data labels: To further differentiate the lines, you can add data labels to each line to display the values at specific points on the graph.

Discuss the benefits of displaying multiple data sets on one graph

Displaying multiple data sets on one graph can provide several benefits, including:

  • Comparison: It allows for easy comparison between different sets of data, making it simpler to identify trends and patterns.
  • Space-saving: Instead of creating separate graphs for each data set, displaying them all on one graph saves space and makes it easier to visualize the relationships between the data.
  • Clarity: Customizing the appearance of each line ensures that the graph remains clear and easy to read, even with multiple data sets displayed.

Interpreting the line graph

A. Explain how to read and interpret the data displayed on the graph

  • Data points: The line graph will display data points for each value in the two columns. The x-axis represents one column, and the y-axis represents the other column. Each point on the graph represents a pair of corresponding values from the two columns.
  • Trend lines: The line connecting the data points helps visualize the overall trend in the data. Upward or downward trends can be easily identified based on the slope of the line.
  • Interpolation: With a line graph, it is possible to estimate values between data points. This allows for better understanding of the relationship between the two sets of data.

B. Emphasize the importance of using the graph to identify trends and patterns in the data

  • Visualizing trends: The line graph provides a clear visual representation of how the data is changing over time or in relation to another variable. This visualization can help in spotting patterns that may not be immediately apparent from the raw data.
  • Identifying outliers: By examining the line graph, outliers or anomalies in the data can be easily identified. These outliers may provide valuable insights into specific events or conditions that affected the data.

C. Provide tips on how to use the graph to make data-driven decisions

  • Setting benchmarks: The line graph can be used to establish benchmarks or targets based on historical data trends. This can guide decision-making in setting realistic goals for the future.
  • Comparing multiple datasets: Overlaying multiple line graphs on the same plot can allow for comparison between different datasets. This can be useful in analyzing the impact of different variables on the data.
  • Predicting future trends: By extrapolating the trend line, it is possible to make informed predictions about future trends, enabling proactive decision-making based on anticipated changes in the data.

Tips for optimizing the line graph

When creating a line graph in Excel, it is important to consider the visual appeal and clarity of the graph. Here are some tips for optimizing your line graph:

A. Best practices for creating a visually appealing and informative line graph

  • Keep it simple: Avoid cluttering the graph with too much data or unnecessary elements. Focus on the key data points that you want to convey.
  • Use consistent scales: Ensure that the scales on the x and y axes are consistent and easy to read. This will help viewers interpret the data accurately.
  • Label the axes: Clearly label the x and y axes to provide context for the data being presented. This will make it easier for viewers to understand the graph.

B. Suggestions for choosing appropriate colors, fonts, and styles for the graph

  • Choose a color scheme: Select colors that are visually appealing and distinguishable. Consider using a muted color palette to avoid overwhelming the viewer.
  • Use readable fonts: Opt for clear and easily readable fonts for the graph's title, axis labels, and data points. This will improve the overall readability of the graph.
  • Explore different styles: Experiment with different line styles and markers to highlight the data points effectively. Choose styles that enhance the visibility of the data.

C. Recommend ways to simplify and declutter the graph for clarity

  • Remove unnecessary elements: Eliminate any unnecessary gridlines or background elements that may distract from the data. This will help focus attention on the main content of the graph.
  • Use white space effectively: Leave ample white space around the graph to prevent overcrowding. This will improve the overall clarity of the graph.
  • Consider data grouping: If you have a large dataset, consider grouping similar data points to simplify the graph and make it easier to interpret.


In conclusion, we have discussed the step-by-step process of creating a line graph in Excel with two columns of data. We learned how to select the data, insert a line chart, and customize the graph for a polished presentation. Practice is key to mastering this skill, so I encourage you to experiment with your own data and create various types of line graphs to familiarize yourself with the process. As businesses rely heavily on data analysis and reporting, mastering this skill will be invaluable in effectively communicating insights and trends to stakeholders.

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