Excel Tutorial: How To Make Good Charts In Excel


Creating good charts in Excel is essential for presenting data in a clear and visually appealing manner. Whether you are using it for business reports, presentations, or academic research, well-designed charts can help you communicate your data effectively. In this Excel tutorial, we will cover everything from choosing the right chart type to formatting and customizing your charts to create professional-looking visuals that will impress your audience.

Topics covered in this tutorial:

  • Choosing the right chart type for your data
  • Formatting and customizing charts
  • Tips for creating visually appealing visuals

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right chart type is crucial for effectively presenting data in Excel.
  • Formatting and customizing charts can greatly enhance their visual appeal and impact.
  • Utilizing advanced chart features such as pivot charts and dynamic charts can provide better analysis and insights.
  • Incorporating charts into presentations and reports, along with using annotations and callouts, can help highlight specific data points.
  • Creating good charts in Excel is essential for data analysis and effective communication.

Understanding the Basics of Excel Charts

Excel charts are a powerful tool for visualizing and interpreting data. Understanding the basics of Excel charts is essential for creating effective and impactful visual representations of your data.

A. Explanation of Different Chart Types Available in Excel

Excel offers a wide variety of chart types, including bar charts, line charts, pie charts, scatter plots, and more. Each chart type has its own unique purpose and is best suited for different types of data.

B. How to Select the Right Chart Type for Your Data

Choosing the right chart type for your data is crucial for accurately representing and interpreting your data. Consider factors such as the type of data you have, the story you want to tell with your data, and the audience you are presenting to when selecting a chart type.

C. Understanding the Data Requirements for Creating a Chart

Before creating a chart in Excel, it is important to understand the data requirements for each chart type. For example, bar charts require categorical data for the x-axis and numerical data for the y-axis, while line charts are best suited for showing trends over time.

Formatting the chart for clarity and impact

When creating charts in Excel, it's important to pay attention to the formatting to ensure that the chart is not only visually appealing but also effectively communicates the data. Here are some key considerations for formatting your chart:

A. Choosing the right colors for the chart

Color choice can make a big difference in the impact of your chart. When selecting colors, consider the overall theme of your presentation or report, and choose colors that complement it. Additionally, make sure that the colors you choose are easily distinguishable from each other, especially if you have multiple data series on the chart.

B. Adding labels and titles to the chart

Labels and titles are essential for providing context and clarity to your chart. Ensure that the chart title is clear and descriptive, and that axis labels are properly labeled with units of measurement. Adding data labels to the chart can also help in providing specific values for each data point, making the chart more informative.

C. Adjusting the axis for better readability

The axis of the chart plays a crucial role in how the data is presented. Make sure to adjust the axis scales to best fit the range of your data, and consider using a logarithmic scale if the data covers a wide range of values. Additionally, you can adjust the axis labels and gridlines to improve readability and make it easier for the audience to interpret the chart.

Customizing the chart to meet specific needs

When it comes to creating effective charts in Excel, customization is key. By customizing your charts to meet specific needs, you can ensure that the data is conveyed accurately and effectively. Here are some ways to customize your charts in Excel:

Adding trendlines and data markers

  • Trendlines can help to visualize the overall trend of the data and make predictions based on that trend. To add a trendline, simply right-click on the data series in the chart, select "Add Trendline," and choose the type of trendline you want to use.
  • Data markers can be added to individual data points in the chart to highlight specific data or make it easier to identify different categories. To add data markers, right-click on the data series, select "Add Data Labels," and choose the position and type of data labels you want to use.

Incorporating secondary axis for dual-category charts

  • When creating a chart with two different categories that have different scales, incorporating a secondary axis can help to visually represent the data more accurately. To add a secondary axis, select the data series you want to move to the secondary axis, right-click, and choose "Format Data Series." Then, select "Secondary Axis" under the Series Options.

Using chart templates for consistent branding

  • Chart templates can be used to ensure that all charts within a presentation or report have a consistent look and feel. To create a chart template, simply customize a chart to your liking, right-click on the chart, and select "Save as Template." Then, you can apply this template to other charts by right-clicking on the chart, selecting "Change Chart Type," and choosing the template you saved.

Utilizing advanced chart features for better analysis

When it comes to creating charts in Excel, there are several advanced features that can greatly enhance the ability to analyze and visualize data. In this chapter, we will explore the use of Excel tables, pivot charts, and interactive features like slicers and timelines to create dynamic and insightful charts.

A. Creating dynamic charts using Excel tables

Excel tables are a powerful tool for creating dynamic charts that automatically expand to include new data. By using structured references within the table, you can easily create charts that update as new data is added, making them ideal for ongoing data analysis and reporting.

B. Using pivot charts for summarizing and analyzing data

Pivot charts are another valuable tool for summarizing and analyzing data in Excel. By creating a pivot table and then inserting a pivot chart, you can quickly visualize complex data sets and gain valuable insights. Pivot charts are especially useful for drilling down into large datasets and identifying trends and patterns.

C. Incorporating interactive features like slicers and timelines

To further enhance the interactivity and usability of Excel charts, you can incorporate features like slicers and timelines. Slicers allow users to filter data directly within the chart, while timelines enable the visualization of chronological data in a dynamic and interactive manner. These features can greatly improve the usability and effectiveness of your charts for data analysis.

Tips for effectively presenting Excel charts

Excel charts are a powerful tool for visually representing data in a way that is easy to understand and interpret. When incorporating charts into presentations and reports, it is important to consider the best practices for effectively presenting your data.

Incorporating charts into presentations and reports

  • Choose the right chart type: Selecting the appropriate chart type for your data is essential for effectively communicating your message. Be mindful of the data you are presenting and choose a chart type that best represents that data, whether it's a line chart, bar chart, pie chart, or others.
  • Keep it simple: Avoid cluttering your charts with unnecessary elements. A clean and simple design will make it easier for your audience to focus on the key insights in your data.
  • Use consistent formatting: Maintain a consistent color scheme, font style, and chart layout throughout your presentation or report to create a cohesive and professional look.

Using annotations and callouts for highlighting specific data points

  • Add annotations: Including annotations can help to provide context and additional information about specific data points in your chart. This can be done using text boxes, arrows, or other callout features available in Excel.
  • Emphasize key insights: Utilize callouts to draw attention to important trends or outliers in your data, helping your audience to grasp the significance of specific data points.
  • Use labels strategically: Ensure that your chart's axis labels, legends, and data labels are clear and concise, making it easy for your audience to understand the information presented.

Best practices for sharing and exporting charts

  • Choose the right file format: When sharing or exporting your charts, consider the file format that best suits your needs. Whether it's a PDF, image file, or interactive Excel workbook, choose the format that will maintain the integrity of your charts.
  • Provide context: When sharing your charts, be sure to include context and explanations to help your audience understand the key takeaways from the data presented.
  • Consider your audience: Tailor the design and presentation of your charts to the preferences and needs of your audience. This may include adjusting the level of detail, the use of color, or the inclusion of relevant annotations.


In conclusion, we have covered key points for creating good charts in Excel, including choosing the right chart type, formatting, and labeling. I encourage all readers to apply these tips and techniques to their own Excel charts to enhance their data visualization and analysis. By creating good charts in Excel, you can improve the impact of your data communication and make informed decisions based on clear, visually appealing charts.

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