How to Make a Graph in Excel
Organize a spreadsheet full of data into a chart/graph in Excel and improve your visuals and reporting using the instructions on this page.
Graphs and Charts make it easy to visualize information in a clear, easily digestible, and appealing manner. Why scroll through tons of data in worksheets when you can turn that information into a visual chart or graph. You can easily create a chart in MS Excel rather than exporting data into some 3rd party tools.
Usually, graphs and charts are very much similar to each other in excel and they are used interchangeably. Graphs are a visual representation of trends and changes in data over a period of time, however, charts are a type of representation of large sets of data, where categories may or may not be related to each other. Graphs are usually used for analyzing raw data or exact numbers, while charts find their uses in business presentations and survey results.
You can create charts and graphs essentially the same way in Excel, the only difference is what are you using it for. Some data are best represented in a line graph while others shown in pie charts. However, for some people, it may be a little intimidating to create graphs in Microsoft Excel. But. creating charts and graphs in Excel is actually pretty easy. So, let’s take a look at how to make a graph in Excel.
Creating a Graph in Excel
The first step of creating a graph is inputting your data into Excel. You may export your data from elsewhere or you can input it manually.
We created an example data as shown below and we’ll use this sample data to show you how to create a graph and edit it.
Highlight the data sets that you want to use in your graph by clicking and dragging your mouse across the cells as below.
Choosing a graph or chart
This is the most important step, as you have to determine what kind of chart you want to make based on your data. Some graphs are best represented in 3D columns while others in 2D lines or a pie chart.
To choose your chart, go to the ‘Insert’ tab at the top of the Excel window and go to the ‘Charts’ group. As you can see various chart types grouped together in drop-down menus, click on the icon and expand the drop-down and choose your chart. You can also click on the ‘Recommended Charts’ icon and see what kind of charts does Excel recommends for you based on your data.
Click on any chart under ‘Recommended Charts’ tab to see how your data will look like. If you don’t like any of the recommended charts, click ‘All Charts’ to see all the available chart types.
You can choose any chart type you like on the left side and on the side, you choose the style of chart. We’re choosing the ‘Column’ type and the ‘Clustered Column’ style for our chart. Even if you don’t like your chart type, you can change it anytime.
This is how the created graph will look like (image below) after choosing the chart type.
Switching Data Between X-axis and Y-axis
The graph may not show in the way that you want it. If you don’t like it, you can always use the ‘Switch Row/Column’ option in the ‘Design’ tab to switch X-axis and Y-axis parameters to change the look.
Now the graph may look like this (image below) if we switch the parameters using the ‘Switch Rows/Columns’ option.
Adding a Title to Chart
Now to add a title to the chart, go to the ‘Design’ tab and click ‘Add Chart Element’ or you just click the plus sign next to the chart to do the same functions. Then, expand the ‘Chart Title’ setting and choose the ‘Above Chart’ or ‘Centered Overlay’ option to place your chart title where you want it.
To change the look of your title, right-click on the title and open format menu and then you can design the title however you like it.
Formatting Chart Elements
To redesign your chart elements, you can right-click on the chart and customize your chart elements using the Format menu.
You can also adjust your legend size and design to make it easier to read. To do this, just right-click on the legend and choose ‘Font’ to adjust the font. By clicking, ‘Format Legend’ option you can change the position of the legend and its effects.
To change the measurement value that appears on the Y-axis, right-click on the Y-axis in your chart and click the ‘Format’ Axis’ option to open the ‘Format Axis’ window and click the ‘Axis Options’ tab. Here, you can change the ‘Bound’ and ‘Units’ values on Y-axis.
Here, we changed the Maximum value in ‘Bounds’ to 1000 and the Major value in ‘Units’ to 50 under the ‘Axis Options’ tab. Now it’ll reflect on the chart as shown in the picture below.
Moving the Chart Location
You can change your chart style and design using various options available under the ‘Design’ tab. You can also move your chart from one sheet to another sheet in the same Excel document. To do that click on the ‘Move Chart Location’ option.
In the pop-up option, click the dropdown menu next to ‘Object in’ and select the sheet you want the graph to be moved. If you click ‘New Sheet’ and type its name, Excel will create a new separate sheet just for the chart and the chart will be moved there.
You can add data labels to the chart to focus your readers’ attention on a single data series or data point. To do that, click on the plus sign next to the chart and expand the ‘Data Labels’ option and select where you want to place your data labels in the chart. In the following example, we selected ‘Outside End’ and placed our data labels at the outside ends of data points.
That’s everything, We hope our article helps you create a beautiful Chart/Graph in Excel.