3D plots is also known as surface plots in excel which is used to represent three dimensional data, in order to create a three dimensional plot in a excel we need to have a three dimensional range of data which means we have three-axis x, y and z, 3D plots or surface plots can be used from the insert tab in excel.
Excel 3D Plot Chart
Before we begin making a 3D plot in excel first we must know what is a plot. Plots are basically charts in excel which visually represents the given data. There are various types of charts in excel which are used to represent the data. But mostly the data is represented in 2D charts which means the data or the table is in two series i.e. X-axis and Y-axis. But what about if we have three variables X, Y, and Z how do we plot this chart. This is what we will learn about this 3D Plot in Excel topic.
We have our problem statement that if we have data in three series axis i.e. X, Y, and Z how do we plot this data in charts. The chart we use to represent this data is called a 3D plot or surface plot in excel. 3D plots represent three-dimensional data, here there are three variables. One variable is dependent on the other two while the other two variables are independents. Two-dimensional charts are useful in representing the data, while three-dimensional data are helpful in data analysis. Such as CO-relation and regression. This type of chart is plotted in the X Y and Z axis where two axis are horizontal while one is vertical. Which axis is to remain the primary axis is complete up to the user of the chart. Which data either the independent or one of the two dependents can be the primary axis.
Where can we find a 3D plot or surface chart in excel? In the Insert tab, under the charts section, we can find an option for surface charts.
The charts highlighted are surface or 3D plots in excel.
How to Create a 3D Plot in Excel?
Now let us make surface i.e 3d plots in excel with the help of a couple of examples.
Let us pick some random data first like the one below,
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We have some random number generated in excel X Y and Z column and we will plot this data in 3D plots.
- Select the data in which we want to plot the 3D chart.
- Now in the Insert Tab under the charts section click on the surface chart.
- A normal 3d surface plot in excel appears below, but we cannot read much from this chart as of now.
- As we can see the working of a surface chart is in the colors. The ranges are shown in colors.
- Now currently this chart is not so much readable so right-click on the chart and click on Format Chart Area.
- A chart formatting toolbar will pop up then Click on Effects. In Effects click on 3D Rotation as shown below.
- Change the values for X and Y rotation and the perspective which will change the chart and it will be easier to read.
- This is how now the chart looks after changing the default rotation.
- Now we have to name the axis. We can give the axis title by clicking on the button provided by the excel.
The above surface chart is the 3D plot for a random data selected above. Let us use 3d surface plots in excel for some complex situations.
Suppose we have data for a region and its sales are done over a period of six months and we want to display this data by a chart. Have a look at the data below,
Now we want to display this in the 3D chart as we have three variables to define with. One being the month another being the profit or loss incurred by the company and third the total sales done in that period of a month. Follow the following steps:
- Select the data in which we want to plot the 3D chart.
- In the Insert Tab under the charts, section click on the surface chart.
- The 3D chart currently looks like this one below,
- The colors are indicating the value ranges in the chart and it is ranging from -20000 to 60000, but our data in the profit/loss is only between 7000 to -5000 and 30000 to 40000 so we need to change this. Right-click on the chart and click on the Format chat area.
- A chart formatting toolbar appears, Click on effects, and at the bottom of the effects, option uncheck from autoscale.
- Now again the checks option of chart toolbar in excel, changes the perspective to the point at which we are able to view the chart correctly.
- Our chart currently looks like below,
- Now there are various other charts formatting options in the Design tab, such as to add chart element.
Add a title to the Chart as “Sales Data”.
Why do we use 3d Plot in excel? To answer this question we can refer to example two. The data was in three series i.e. we had to represent the data in three axis.
This was not possible with 2D charts as two-dimensional charts can only represent the data in two axes. 3D plots surface plots in excel work in color-coding. The color represents the ranges of the data in which they are defined.
For example, look at the screenshot below from example 2:
Every range of values is represented by a different set of colors.
Things to Remember
- 3d surface Plots in Excel are useful but are very difficult to use so they are not used very often.
- Out of the three-axis in a 3D plot, one is vertical while the other two axes are horizontal.
- In the excel 3D surface plot, the 3D rotation needs to be adjusted as per the range of data as it can be difficult to read from the chart if the perspective isn’t right.
- The axis should be named as to avoid any confusion on which axis is the X or Y or the Z-axis for a user.
This has been a Guide to 3D Plot in Excel. Here we discuss how to create a 3D Surface Plot (Chart) in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –