Excel Tutorial: How To Make Charts In Excel


Are you ready to take your Excel skills to the next level? In this tutorial, we will explore the essential steps to making charts in Excel. Charts are a crucial tool for data analysis and presentation, allowing you to visualize trends, patterns, and comparisons within your data. Whether you are a beginner or looking to refresh your knowledge, this guide will help you unlock the full potential of Excel's charting capabilities.

Key Takeaways

  • Charts in Excel are essential for visualizing trends, patterns, and comparisons within your data.
  • Understanding the different chart types and their best uses is important for effective data analysis and presentation.
  • Creating a chart in Excel involves selecting data, inserting the chart, and customizing its appearance.
  • Chart tools in Excel can be used to enhance the appearance and functionality of the chart.
  • Following best practices for chart design can help create visually appealing and easy-to-understand charts.

Understanding Chart Types in Excel

When it comes to creating visual representations of data in Excel, there are several chart types to choose from. Understanding the different types of charts and their best uses can help you effectively communicate your data to others.

Discuss the different chart types available in Excel

  • Bar Charts: Bar charts are used to compare values across different categories. They are best suited for displaying data that is categorized and does not require a continuous axis.
  • Line Charts: Line charts are ideal for showing trends over time. They are commonly used for displaying data that changes continuously over a period of time.
  • Pie Charts: Pie charts are useful for showing the proportion of parts to a whole. They are best for illustrating the percentage breakdown of a single data series.
  • Scatter Plots: Scatter plots are used to show the relationship between two sets of data. They are suitable for displaying correlation or distribution patterns.
  • Area Charts: Area charts are similar to line charts but fill the area below the lines. They are ideal for showing the magnitude of change over time for multiple data series.

Explain the best uses for each chart type

Understanding the best uses for each chart type can help you choose the most effective way to display your data. For example, if you want to compare sales figures for different products, a bar chart would be the best choice. On the other hand, if you want to show the trend of sales over time, a line chart would be more appropriate.

Pie charts are useful for illustrating the percentage breakdown of a single data series, such as market share. Scatter plots, on the other hand, are effective for showing the relationship between two sets of data, such as the correlation between temperature and ice cream sales.

Area charts are ideal for visualizing the magnitude of change over time for multiple data series, making them suitable for displaying trends in stock prices or website traffic.

Creating a Chart in Excel

Charts are a great way to visually represent your data in Excel. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a chart in Excel.

A. Selecting Data for the Chart

Before creating a chart, you need to select the data that you want to include in the chart. Follow these steps to select the data:

  • 1. Select the Data: Click and drag to select the range of cells that contain the data you want to include in the chart.
  • 2. Include Labels: Make sure to include the row and column labels that you want to appear as axis labels in the chart.
  • 3. Select Chart Type: Consider the type of chart you want to create and select the appropriate data range for that chart type.

B. Inserting a Chart into a Worksheet

Once you have selected the data for your chart, follow these instructions to insert the chart into a worksheet:

  • 1. Insert Tab: Click on the "Insert" tab at the top of the Excel window.
  • 2. Chart Types: Choose the type of chart you want to create from the "Charts" group. options include column, line, pie, bar, area, scatter, and more.
  • 3. Insert Chart: Click on the specific chart type you want to insert. A new chart will appear in your worksheet based on the selected data.

Customizing Your Chart

Customizing your chart in Excel allows you to create a visual representation of your data that suits your specific needs. Here's how you can customize your chart to make it more visually appealing and easier to understand.

How to change the chart style, layout, and colors

  • Chart Style: To change the style of your chart, select the chart, then go to the Design tab on the ribbon. Here, you can choose from a variety of pre-set chart styles to change the look of your chart.
  • Chart Layout: You can also customize the layout of your chart by adding or removing chart elements such as titles, data labels, and axes. To do this, click on the chart and use the Chart Elements button to add or remove specific elements.
  • Chart Colors: Excel allows you to change the color scheme of your chart to better fit your presentation or report. Simply click on the chart, then go to the Format tab and select the desired color palette from the Chart Styles group.

Adding titles, labels, and legends to the chart

  • Chart Title: To add a title to your chart, select the chart, then go to the Layout tab on the ribbon. From here, you can add a chart title, axis titles, and data labels to make your chart easier to understand.
  • Data Labels: Data labels provide important information about the data points in your chart. You can add or remove data labels by clicking on the chart, then going to the Chart Elements button in the Design tab.
  • Chart Legend: A chart legend provides a key to the colors and styles used in the chart. You can add or remove a chart legend by clicking on the chart, then going to the Chart Elements button in the Design tab and selecting "Legend."

Using Chart Tools

When working with charts in Excel, there are various tools available that can help you enhance the appearance and functionality of the chart. These tools can provide a professional and polished look to your data visualization, making it easier for your audience to understand and interpret the information presented.

Overview of the tools available when working with charts in Excel

  • Chart Styles: Excel offers a wide range of pre-designed chart styles that can be applied to your chart with a single click, allowing you to quickly change the look and feel of the chart.
  • Chart Elements: You can add or remove various chart elements such as axis titles, data labels, and legends to make your chart more informative and visually appealing.
  • Chart Layouts: Excel provides several chart layouts that can help you arrange the chart elements in a visually pleasing and effective manner.
  • Data Labels: You can use data labels to display specific data points on the chart, making it easier for viewers to understand the values represented.

How to use these tools to enhance the appearance and functionality of the chart

Now that you are familiar with the tools available, let's take a look at how you can use them to improve the appearance and functionality of your charts.

  • Applying Chart Styles: To apply a chart style, select the chart and navigate to the Chart Styles option in the Chart Tools tab. Choose a style that best fits your data and formatting preferences.
  • Adding Chart Elements: Use the Chart Elements option to add or remove elements such as axis titles, data labels, and legends. This can help make your chart more informative and visually appealing.
  • Customizing Chart Layouts: Experiment with different chart layouts to arrange the elements in a way that best communicates your data. You can choose from various layouts and quickly change the look of your chart.
  • Utilizing Data Labels: Adding data labels to your chart can help viewers understand specific data points and make it easier to interpret the information presented.

Best Practices for Chart Design

A. Tips for creating visually appealing and easy-to-understand charts

When creating charts in Excel, it's important to keep in mind the following tips for making them visually appealing and easy to understand:

  • Choose the right type of chart: Selecting the appropriate chart type for your data is crucial. For example, use a bar chart for comparing data, a line chart for showing trends, and a pie chart for illustrating proportions.
  • Use colors strategically: Avoid using too many colors in a chart. Stick to a simple color scheme, and use contrasting colors to make important data stand out.
  • Keep it simple: Don't overload your chart with unnecessary elements. Eliminate clutter and focus on presenting the most essential information.
  • Label everything: Ensure that all elements of your chart are clearly labeled, including axes, data points, and any additional information.
  • Use consistent formatting: Maintain consistency in the formatting of your charts, such as font style, size, and axis scales.

B. How to effectively use charts to convey your data's message

Charts are powerful tools for conveying data's message in a clear and impactful way. Here are some tips for using charts effectively:

  • Highlight key data points: Emphasize the most important data points in your chart to draw attention to the key message you want to convey.
  • Provide context: Use titles, labels, and annotations to provide context to your chart and help the audience understand the significance of the data.
  • Choose the right chart type for your message: Select a chart type that best represents the message you want to convey. For example, use a line chart to show a trend over time, or a bar chart to compare different categories of data.
  • Use visuals to tell a story: Organize your data in a way that tells a clear and compelling story. Arrange the data to guide the audience's understanding and draw conclusions.


In summary, this tutorial has covered the basics of creating charts in Excel, including the different chart types, data selection, and customization options. By following these simple steps, you can effectively visualize your data and gain valuable insights from it. So, if you haven't already, it's time to start utilizing charts in Excel for your data analysis and reporting needs. Charts not only make your data easier to understand but also help in presenting your findings in a visually appealing manner.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into Excel, start experimenting with different chart types, and take your data analysis to the next level!

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