Excel Tutorial: How To Make A Graph In Excel With Percentages


When it comes to representing data visually, nothing beats the power of a well-made graph. In this Excel tutorial, we will walk you through the steps of creating a graph in Excel with percentages. Whether you are a student needing to visualize your data for a presentation or a professional looking to highlight important trends, knowing how to create a percentage graph in Excel can be a valuable skill. Let's dive in and see how you can easily turn your data into a visual representation.

Key Takeaways

  • Using well-made graphs is the best way to visually represent data in Excel.
  • Understanding the significance of using percentages in data representation is important.
  • Knowing how to calculate percentages in Excel is a valuable skill.
  • Choosing the appropriate data range for percentages is essential for creating an effective graph.
  • Interpreting graphs can help in understanding percentage trends and making data-driven decisions.

Understanding Data and Percentages

When working with data, percentages are a useful way to represent information in a clear and easily understandable manner. Whether it's for sales figures, survey results, or any other type of data, percentages provide a quick snapshot of the relative proportions of different categories within the data.

A. Discuss the significance of using percentages in data representation
  • Clarity:

    Percentages make it easier to compare different parts of the whole, allowing for a clearer understanding of the data.
  • Visualization:

    By using percentages, it becomes simpler to create visual representations such as graphs and charts, which can help in communicating the information effectively.
  • Comparison:

    Percentages enable easy comparison between different sets of data, facilitating the identification of trends and patterns.

B. Explain how to calculate percentages in Excel
  • Step 1: Input Data

    Input the raw data into an Excel spreadsheet, ensuring that it is organized in a clear and structured manner.
  • Step 2: Calculate Percentages

    Use the formula = (part/total) x 100 to calculate the percentage for each category. For example, to calculate the percentage of sales for a product, divide the sales for that product by the total sales and then multiply by 100.
  • Step 3: Format Cells

    Format the cells containing the calculated percentages as percentages, using the 'Percentage' format option in Excel.
  • Step 4: Create Graph

    Once the percentages are calculated and formatted, use the data to create a graph in Excel, choosing the appropriate graph type (e.g., pie chart, bar graph) to visually represent the percentages.

Excel Tutorial: How to Make a Graph in Excel with Percentages

Selecting the Data for the Graph

When creating a graph in Excel to represent percentages, it is crucial to select the appropriate data to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the graph. Here's a step-by-step guide on selecting the data for the graph in Excel:

  • Step 1: Open your Excel spreadsheet and locate the data that you want to represent in the graph. Ensure that the data is organized in a clear and understandable format.
  • Step 2: Click and drag your mouse to select the range of cells that contain the data you want to include in the graph. Be careful to include all the relevant data without including any unnecessary cells.
  • Step 3: Once you have selected the data range, go to the "Insert" tab on the Excel ribbon and choose the type of graph you want to create. For percentages, a pie chart or a stacked bar chart may be the most appropriate options.

When choosing the appropriate data range for percentages, it's important to consider the following tips:

  • Tip 1: Ensure that the data selected accurately represents the percentages you want to display. Double-check your selection to avoid any inaccuracies in the graph.
  • Tip 2: If you have multiple sets of percentages that you want to compare, consider using a clustered bar chart or a line graph to clearly visualize the differences.
  • Tip 3: Exclude any irrelevant data from your selection to keep the graph focused and easily understandable for your audience.

Choosing the Right Graph Type

When representing percentages in Excel, it is important to choose the right graph type that effectively communicates the data to the audience. Here, we will discuss the various types of graphs suitable for representing percentages and provide guidelines on how to select the best graph type for a specific data set.

A. Discuss the various types of graphs suitable for representing percentages
  • Pie Chart

    The pie chart is a popular choice for representing percentages as it shows the proportion of each category in relation to the whole. It is ideal for illustrating the distribution of percentages in a data set.

  • Stacked Bar Chart

    A stacked bar chart is useful for comparing the percentages of different categories across multiple groups. It allows for easy visualization of the total percentage and the individual contribution of each category.

  • Area Chart

    An area chart can be used to show the trend of percentages over time or across different categories. It is effective in highlighting the overall pattern and the relative contribution of each category.

B. How to select the best graph type for the specific data set
  • Consider the Data Distribution: When choosing a graph type, consider the distribution of percentages in the data set. If there are only a few categories, a pie chart may be suitable. If there are multiple categories and you want to compare them across different groups, a stacked bar chart may be more appropriate.

  • Highlight the Comparison: If the main purpose is to compare the percentage contribution of different categories, choose a graph type that emphasizes this comparison, such as a bar chart or a stacked bar chart.

  • Visualize Trends: If the goal is to visualize the trend of percentages over time or across different categories, consider using an area chart or a line chart to highlight the changes and patterns.

Creating the Graph

Graphs are a powerful way to visualize and understand percentage data in Excel. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a graph with percentages.

A. Step-by-step instructions on creating a graph in Excel with percentages
  • Step 1: Input your data into an Excel spreadsheet. Be sure to include the categories and their corresponding percentage values.
  • Step 2: Select the cells containing the data you want to graph.
  • Step 3: Navigate to the "Insert" tab in the Excel ribbon and choose the type of graph you want to create, such as a bar graph, line graph, or pie chart.
  • Step 4: Your graph will populate based on the selected data. You can click and drag the graph to reposition it on the worksheet if needed.

B. Customizing the graph to effectively display percentage data
  • Step 5: Right-click on the graph to access a menu of customization options, including changing the chart type, adding titles and labels, and adjusting color schemes.
  • Step 6: Select the chart area and right-click to access additional formatting options, such as changing the axis scales and adding data labels.
  • Step 7: Use the "Chart Tools" tab that appears when you have a graph selected to further customize the appearance and layout of the graph.

By following these steps, you can create a visually appealing and informative graph in Excel that effectively displays your percentage data.

Interpreting the Graph

When it comes to interpreting a graph in Excel that shows percentages, there are a few key tips to keep in mind to ensure that you are understanding the percentage trends accurately.

A. Tips on interpreting the graph to understand percentage trends

  • Pay attention to the y-axis: The y-axis represents the percentage values, so it is crucial to carefully examine the scale and the intervals to accurately interpret the percentage trends.
  • Compare different categories: If the graph displays multiple categories, compare their percentages to identify any notable variations or similarities.
  • Look for trends over time: If the graph represents data over a period, analyze the trends to identify any patterns or fluctuations in the percentages.
  • Consider the context: Understand the context of the data to interpret the percentages effectively, taking into account any factors that may influence the trends.

B. How to use the graph to make data-driven decisions

  • Identify areas of improvement: Use the graph to pinpoint areas with low percentages and analyze the data to make informed decisions on how to improve those areas.
  • Spot trends and patterns: By interpreting the graph, you can identify trends and patterns in the percentages that can guide strategic decision-making.
  • Set realistic goals: Use the graph to set realistic percentage-based goals for improvement or growth, based on the data trends.
  • Communicate insights: Share the insights gained from interpreting the graph with relevant stakeholders to drive data-driven decision-making across the organization.


In conclusion, this tutorial has covered the key steps to creating a graph in Excel using percentages. We discussed how to input the data, select the appropriate graph type, and customize the graph to effectively display percentage values. By following these simple steps, you can create professional-looking graphs that accurately represent percentage data.

I encourage you to practice creating graphs with percentages in Excel to further enhance your skills and familiarity with the software. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will become in creating and customizing graphs to suit your specific needs.

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