Microsoft Excel Charts: How to Visualize Your Data in Excel — From Start To Finish
A chart visualizes data for straightforward interpretation. In Microsoft Excel, you can visually represent your data from a worksheet to bring more understanding to the data than just looking at the numbers.
While there are different ways to create charts in Microsoft Excel, we want to focus on the easiest ones.
A Step-by-Step Procedure to Create Excel Charts
Before creating a graph in Excel, you’ll need the following:
- Contiguous data without any blank rows or columns
- Labels for the X-axis and Y-axis.
Unless you’re creating a pie chart, exclude the totals because it won’t allow you to do a comparative chart. You can include the totals on a separate chart like a pie chart.
When you have everything in order, proceed as follows:
- Highlight the data range you want to display on the chart.
- Press Alt + F1 to create an embedded chart. The embedded chart is an object visually displaying data within the current worksheet. The default chart is a column chart.
- Select the data again and press F11 to create a chart sheet.
A chart sheet is a standalone chart in its sheet that can be helpful because it’s proportional and fills the page. After creating a chart, you have three of the following options:
- Remain with the embedded chart in your worksheet
- Press F1 while highlighting the data to turn the embed into a chart sheet
- Move the chart to a different worksheet
How to Move a Chart to a Different Worksheet
Moving your chart to a different worksheet is simple. Just proceed as follows:
- Select the chart you’ve created.
- Click on Chart Design at the top of the window.
- Select Move Chat at the top right of the window. A small window will pop up, asking you to choose where to place the chart.
- Hit the OK button after selecting the chart destination.
You can use the process to turn an embedded chart into a chart sheet, turn a chart sheet into an embedded object, or move it to a different worksheet.
How to Change the Chart type
While the default Excel chart is a column chart, you can change it to different types in three simple steps:
- Select Chart Design at the top of the window.
- Click on Change Chart Type at the top right of the screen. A small window will pop up, giving you chart-type options to select.
- Select one type and hit the OK button.
How To Create Excel Charts When You Don’t Have All Data
One of the challenges you can face with charts is that you might not have all the data at the time of creation. Your best shot is to have placeholders when creating the chart.
Once you get the missing data, add it to the placeholders you created at first. Then, proceed as follows for the changes to appear on the chart:
- Highlight the data you have recently added to your worksheet.
- Press Ctrl + C to copy it.
- Use the Ctrl + V shortcut to paste the data directly to the chart. The chart will automatically update.
How to Include the Totals in a Pie Chart
If you want to plot the totals as a pie chart, you can create a new worksheet, but you don’t have to. Instead, proceed as follows:
- Highlight the labels in your worksheet
- While pressing the Ctrl key, highlight the matching parallel range that contains the totals.
- Stop pressing the Ctrl key
- Select Insert at the top of the window
- Choose Pie Chart
Don’t use the Ctrl key to highlight the first range of data because you won’t have a successful chat.
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