Charts take large amounts of data and present them in a way that others visualize. They’re a great addition to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and take very little time to add and format. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll be a pro. It will take less effort to include a chart in MS Excel.

You Must First Know How Charts Work

Here’s what you need to know to get started. To begin, a chart displays numeric data in a graphical format. It helps illustrate the relationship between two different sets of data. For example, say you have a projected budget for the first quarter of the year. Your actual costs were significantly lower than what you projected.

You can tell others how this relates to your business by creating a chart that shows the two amounts side by side. You’re able to see how close to your budget you were without reading through paragraphs of text. People get the jest of what you’re sharing because they’re able to see that the chart in Excel reflects a numerical difference.

Creating Your First Chart

Once you’re clear as to why charts are important, you’ll want to start creating your own chart. Keep in mind what type of data it will display. The relationship between the numbers should be clear and make sense instantly.

Here’s how to create a basic chart within Excel:

  1. Arrange the data on the worksheet the way you want it to appear in the chart.

    For example, you’ll want to know how many rows or columns to add to the chart. Excel automatically determines the arrangement for you but certain types of charts arrange data specifically.
  2. Select chart cells to house the data you’re sharing in the chart.

    There are a number of options that you can choose from. For example, if only one cell is selected, the program automatically plots cells containing that data adjacently to that cell. If the cells are not in a continuous range, you’re given the option to select rectangular nonadjacent cells or ranges. Hiding rows and columns that are unwanted in the chart is another possibility.
  3. In the Charts group on the Insert tab, you’ll need to either click the chart type to determine which you want to use or Insert Chart to see your options.

    Once the dialogue box opens on the latter option, you’ll be able to see what is available for you. You can see the name of the Chart by resting the mouse pointer over it. The ScreenTip displays its name and further Microsoft instruction explains which charts do what.
  4. Change the location of the Chart if you want to.

    In order to place it in a space other than the worksheet, you’ll need to click on the embedded chart. This activates it. You’ll then see Chart Tools where you can go to Design, Layout, and Formats tabs. Choose Design and while in the Location group, click Move Chart. You can then decide where to place it. If you want it in a new location, choose New Sheet. It you want it to be embedded in a worksheet, you’ll choose a different series of steps. You click Object in and then click a worksheet in the box.
  5. Rename the chart.

    You don’t want it to read Chart1 or Chart2. To do this, you’ll first need to click the chart. Then go to the Layout tab, select Properties group, and click the text box called Chart Name. Type in the new name before pressing Enter.

It’s not complicated to create and format charts. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll do it with very little effort. It’s one enhancement that you’ll need to know how to use to enhance your Excel spreadsheets.

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