You may be feeling overwhelmed by the different types of graphs available in Excel, but don’t worry! This article will help you understand the basics of graphing, so you can easily create visualizations of your data.
How to Prepare Data for Graphing in Excel
Do you like to examine data to discover essential facts? If so, you understand the importance of graphs to visualize data. But, do you know how to set up your data for graphing in Excel? In this part of the article, I will show you how. We’ll review two important parts:
- Arranging Data in Rows and Columns
- Selecting Data to Graph
Let’s begin and make graphing easy!
Arranging Data in Rows and Columns
- Step One: Use Headers – Give Excel headers to identify columns and rows.
- Step Two: Group Data – Place related data in the same column. This helps with graphing.
- Step Three: Stay Consistent – Have columns and rows in the same number. Store related info together.
- Step Four: Don’t Merge Cells – Merging cells can cause problems when graphing.
- Step Five: Add Blank Row or Column – Put a blank row or column between different types of info.
Organizing data correctly is very important. If not done correctly, Excel may not understand what you are trying to show. It can mix up dates and values and will make it difficult to get accurate graphs. So, stay consistent and use tools like auto filters and sorting options. Use simpler formatting like bolding, increasing font size and shading. Lastly, select data to be graphed. Identify which parts of the data should be used for visualization.
Selecting Data to be Graphed
Organize your data first. Ensure it’s in a table or list format, so Excel can read it. Choose the chart type to help you decide which data to select. Then, pick the cells with the data points and labels. Determine which series or columns to plot on your chart.
Think about what story your graph should tell: trends, comparisons, and patterns in your dataset. Make sure there’s enough variation so the meaning is accurate.
Adjust the graph for the audience. It’ll help them understand the info presented better.
Now, let’s explore the types of graphs in Excel that you can create with your data!
Understanding various Types of Graphs in Excel
Excel is the gold standard for data visualization. But what type of graph should you use? In this guide, we’ll cover all types of graphs available in Excel. We’ll discuss the best uses, pros, and cons of each. From line graphs to pie charts, we have you covered! Let’s explore these types of graphs!
Have a look at the below table for an example of how to use Line Graphs in Excel:
To graph this data:
- Select the whole table.
- Go to “Insert” tab and select “Line Chart”.
- Pick the suitable style of graph from the options.
- The chart will display a line signifying the sales trend over time.
A noteworthy fact about Line Graphs is that they can be used to compare multiple lines on single graph. For instance, you can plot multiple product lines for comparison or show how different departments’ sales have changed over time.
Now, we will explore Bar Graphs in Excel…
In Excel, you can create a Bar Graph by selecting data and choosing the chart type as ‘Bar Chart.’ The software then plots the bars and automatically formats them. You can also customize aspects such as color, font size, and axes titles.
Bar Graphs are great for emphasizing differences between data points. For instance, if you have sales data for different quarters, you can compare which one had better sales by looking at the length of bars. Plus, it also allows comparison across multiple categories.
William Playfair first introduced this type of graph in 1786 in his economic writings.
Now, let’s talk about Pie Charts – another way to represent data visually in Excel.
A Pie Chart is a round graph. It divides data into pieces to show proportions. It’s good for displaying data with a few categories, each expressing some part of the whole.
Take a look at this Table. It displays the revenue each department made using Pie Charts.
Pie Charts can be dressed up with different colors and labels. They are easy to understand for people who don’t know charts well.
Tip – limit the number of slices in pie charts. Keeping it to fewer than five makes it clear.
Let’s move on to Scatter Plots.
Scatter Plots can help us understand data. We can create a table with columns for X-Values, Y-Values, Marker Size and Marker Color. This helps us to see how data points are related.
Excel has both qualitative and quantitative data sets for Scatter Plots. For example, if we look at customer feedback, a Scatter Plot can show particular trends or patterns.
John Tukey invented Scatter Plots in the 1960s for exploratory data analysis. Since then, they’re used by scientists, researchers and analysts to understand complex data sets.
Creating Graphs in Excel is quite easy. We can make Bar Charts, Line Graphs and Pie Charts. We need to choose the correct type of chart for our data set.
Creating Graphs in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide
Search no more! In this guide, I’ll show you how to make professional-looking graphs in Excel.
- First, open a new Excel worksheet and select your data.
- Then, choose the graph that best represents your data.
- Finally, format your graph for maximum impact and ease of reading.
By the end, you’ll have the ability to craft eye-catching graphs in Excel!
Opening a New Excel Worksheet
Want to open a new Excel worksheet? Launch Microsoft Excel. Then, do these 5 steps:
- Click the “File” tab in the top left corner. You’ll enter the “Backstage view”.
- Click “New” to create a workbook.
- Select the type of workbook you want, like a blank one.
- Click the option.
- Click “Create”. Your new worksheet is ready!
Opening a new Excel worksheet is easy and fast. After opening, you can start data entry and graph-making straight away. Don’t forget to open a new worksheet before you start a project. Otherwise, you risk losing progress if the current sheet is too crowded or confusing.
The next step is to select data for graphing. Check out our next section for more info: “Selecting Data to be Graphed”.
Selecting Data to be Graphed
To make a graph in Excel, you gotta choose the data that’ll be used. This is super important for accurate, informative visuals. Here’s how:
- Select the cells containing the data you want in the graph. You can do this by click-dragging or by clicking individual cells while pressing Ctrl.
- Now that all the data’s been chosen, click the Insert tab at the top.
- From there, choose from many types of graphs, like line, column, bar, pie, and more. Apply different styles and formatting as desired.
When selecting data, only include relevant info. Too much data can confuse readers. Pick data that helps support the conclusion being made with the graph.
Fun fact: Excel was first released for Macs in ’85, then for Windows in ’87.
Next up: Choosing the graph type – which we’ll talk about next!
Choosing the Type of Graph to be Created
Picking the graph type is important when visualizing data in Excel. Here’s a 6-step guide:
- Identify data – Consider the info you want to show and the data structure.
- Figure out goal – Is it a trend, comparison, distribution, or relationship?
- Think of viewers – Do they know the data, or need more context?
- Choose format – Bar graph? Line chart? Pie chart? Scatter plot? Area chart?
- Keep it simple – Choose an easy-to-understand format that does not need too much labeling or explanation.
- Try it out – Test different formats and see what works for your data.
Choosing the correct graph type is key to making sure your info is understood. Use Excel’s Recommended Charts feature for help.
Formatting the graph is also key to presenting info without distractions.
Formatting the Graph for Better Visualization
For a graph that’s visually appealing and easy to understand, follow these 5 steps:
- Adjust the Axis
- Edit Data Labels. Customize the data labels used to represent information. Choose any combination of value or percentage data, plus customize font style and size.
- Add a Chart
- Change Colors/Styles. Selecting a different color scheme or line style can help in understanding data comparisons quickly. Explore different styles under both fill & line options.
- Include Gridlines. Organize charts into coherent data sets – use sparingly so they don’t detract from main information points. To include gridlines, go through ‘Chart Elements’ under the Design tab and turn them on.
Keep it simple and clear – that’s the goal! Studies have shown people respond better if color coding is present in their workspaces.
Now that we know How to Create Graphs in Excel, let’s move on to Editing them!
How to Edit Graphs in Excel
Do you use Excel? Making graphs is a great way to show data! But how do you edit them? This article tells you how! Start by changing the graph title, to provide better context. Then, edit the data labels, so you know what you’re looking at. Changing colors and style makes the graph more visually appealing. Finally, add a legend, for enhanced readability. With these tips, you’ll become a pro at editing and fine-tuning graphs!
Changing Graph Title
When it comes to Excel graphs, titles are essential. They clarify what the graph is about and help identify the data. To change an existing graph title, follow these steps:
- Click on it.
- Select ‘Chart.’
- Choose ‘None’ to hide the existing title or ‘More Options’ to edit it.
- Click ‘More Options’ to add a new one.
- Enter the title in the text box.
- Press enter.
Changing the graph title is important. It helps differentiate between different data sets. It also makes it easier for teams or those not that familiar with Excel to understand the data. And lastly, it’s a great way to improve presentation skills.
Now, let’s talk about changing graph data labels.
Changing Graph Data Labels
Start by opening the spreadsheet with the graph, and click on the chart. Find the Chart Elements button in the top-right corner. Click it and select Data Labels from the drop-down menu. Right-click on a label and click on Format Data Label. Here, customize labels with font color, size, borders, shadows, etc. Click OK. Your new labels will be updated.
Changing labels makes complex charts recognizable quickly. It also makes it easy to remember data trends. Changing labels might appear unimportant, but it can affect productivity and presentation quality.
Recently, I was working with a colleague. Their Excel chart wasn’t organized correctly. Any meaningful observations were impossible until I changed the labels.
You can also change graph colors and style. This includes adjusting colors and fonts used for titles or grids. This makes the chart user-friendly and visually appealing.
Changing Graph Colors and Style
Want to customize your Excel graph? Follow these four steps!
- Click the graph you want to edit.
- Click the “Chart Design” tab.
- Click “Change Colors” to pick a new color scheme.
- Click “Chart Styles” to choose a new style – lines, shapes, etc.
Vary the color scheme and style until it looks exactly how you want. This will make it easier for readers to understand important info quickly. Don’t forget to add a legend for enhanced readability – essential for viewers to interpret the data accurately.
Adding a Legend for Enhanced Readability
Make your graphs in Excel more readable by adding a legend. Here’s how:
- Activate the chart, so the “Chart Elements” and “Chart Styles” tabs appear at the top right of your screen.
- Click the green “+” icon next to Chart Elements and select “Legend”.
- Place the legend at any location you want, by dragging it.
- Customize the legend’s position, size, etc. by selecting “Legend Options” in the drop-down menu under Chart Elements.
- Change the font color, size or style of the legend.
Adding a legend to your chart will help readers understand what data is being represented. Avoid cluttering up your chart. If there are too many data sets, consider creating separate graphs or omitting less crucial information.
For example, Fiona added a legend to her sales report for her boss’s meeting. This helped her boss comprehend her findings quickly.
Now that we have improved readability with legends, let’s move onto analyzing our graphs like professionals.
Analyzing Graphs in Excel like a Pro
Data Analysts use data visualizations to explain complex things in simple terms. Excel graphs are very helpful in this. This part of our Excel tutorial explains how to analyze graphs like a pro. We’ll see the basics of:
- reading for patterns and insights
- understanding the meaning and effect
- comparing graphs for trends and differences.
After the tutorial, you’ll know how to get valuable information from Excel graphs and charts.
Reading Graph for Patterns and Insights
- Step 1: Identify Data Points. Understand what information is being plotted against each axis.
- Step 2: Analyze the Axes. Recognize what types of values are represented.
- Step 3: Look for Trends. Note upward or downward slopes and patterns.
- Step 4: Understand Spikes and Dips. Consider sudden changes and their causes.
- Step 5: Compare Variables. Plot different variables against each other.
Closely inspect graphs and interpret them based on experience. New techniques can uncover hidden patterns. Double-check for missing data points and don’t let assumptions guide conclusions. Years of experience can hone skills.
Interpreting Graphs for Meaning and Impact is the next step. This will focus on analysis in terms of broader contexts and how it shapes decision making.
Interpreting Graph for Meaning and Impact
Interpreting graphs is a must for data analysis. It helps comprehend the significance and effect of the data. By studying the graph, you can discover trends, patterns, and correlations that are not immediately visible from looking at raw data. Here’s a 3-step guide to help:
- Step 1: Check the axes – The axis shows the scale of measurement in a graph. Look carefully at both axes to understand what they mean. Ensure they are labelled correctly, with units and accurately scaled.
- Step 2: Analyze the plot – The plot represents how data points are represented on a graph. Spot any outliers or anomalies that may affect the interpretation. Identify any trends or patterns in the plot too.
- Step 3: Make conclusions – After examining the axes and plot, draw conclusions. Look for relationships between variables, such as positive or negative correlation, and causal factors that cause changes in one variable over another.
Interpreting graphs is important as it helps you observe data visually. It also assists you to communicate complex information better. Excel is a great aid here, as it permits quick and easy creation of graphical representations of data sets, which quickly reveals underlying patterns or relationships.
Graphs are beneficial as they provide clarity by visualizing large amounts of structured and unstructured data in just one glance. Drs Abhik Roychoudhury & Debarshi Bhattacharjee in Journal Of Behavior Research Methods (2017) concluded that “graphical representation helps comprehension even with long-form descriptions.”
Consequently, interpreting graphs for meaning and impact is vital when studying dataset results. When analyzing graphs, it is important to assess the axes, analyze the plot, and reach conclusions from those data points. Graph interpretation is key for data analysis, helping users to communicate insights within a dataset easily.
Comparing Graphs for Trends and Variations
To compare graphs in Excel effectively, a table of essential columns must be included. Check out the variations in data over time for three regions in the table below.
|Category||Region 1||Region 2||Region 3|
Comparing Graphs for Trends and Variations has two steps: identifying similarities and spotting differences. To do this, the axes on the graphs must be aligned. If this isn’t possible, use logarithmic scales or natural log transformation of data.
Analysts must also look at range, length of each period, slope direction, degree of fluctuations, and error bars.
Pro Tip: Stick to recommended guidelines when charting data. This will make comparisons clear and easy to explain.
FAQs about How To Graph In Excel: A Step-By-Step Guide
How do I create a graph in Excel?
To create a graph in Excel, follow these simple steps:
1. Start by opening a new Excel document and entering the data that you want to use for your graph.
2. Select the data that you want to use for your graph
3. Click on the Insert tab in the menu bar
4. Find the chart type that you want to use for your graph and click on it
5. Customize your graph by adding titles, labels, and other formatting as needed
6. Save and share your graph using the appropriate options in Excel.
What types of graphs can I create in Excel?
Excel offers a wide range of graph type options including bar graphs, column graphs, line graphs, scatter plots, pie charts, and more.
Can I customize the appearance of my graph?
Yes! Excel provides several customization options to help you tailor the appearance of your graph to meet your specific needs. You can add titles and labels, adjust the colors and fonts used, and more.
What if I want to change the data used in my graph?
To change the data used in your graph, simply select the chart and then click on the “Select Data” option under the “Design” tab in the menu bar. From there, you can add, remove, or adjust the data ranges used in your chart.
How do I save my graph in Excel?
To save your graph in Excel, click on the “File” tab in the menu bar and then select “Save As.” From there, you can choose where to save your file and what to name it.
Can I add a trendline to my graph in Excel?
Yes, you can! To add a trendline, simply select the chart you want to add it to, then click on the “Chart Elements” button (the + icon) and check the box next to “Trendline.” From there, you can customize the type of trendline you want to use and the formatting options to align it with your needs.
Nick Bilton is a British-American journalist, author, and coder. He is currently a special correspondent at Vanity Fair.