What are Contour Plots / Surface Charts in Excel
The contour chart is part of the contour plot in excel that is used to display the set of three-dimensional data in the form of Mesh surface. This chart can be used to find the optimum combination of two sets of data points. These charts can be constructed by using three kinds of variables i.e. “X, Y, and Z”. Out of these three variables two are being independent which are plotted on the horizontal axis and the remaining variable is independent which occupies the vertical axis. So this chart shows the relationship between data points.
How to Create a Contour Plot / Surface Charts in Excel? (Step by Step)
Below are the examples to be considered.
To create any chart we need some kind of data. For this Contour plot example, I have created the below sample data.
Using this data we will show you how to build a contour plot with excel. Follow the below steps to create a surface chart in excel.
Step 1: Select the data in the excel worksheet.
Step 3: Go to Insert >>> Charts >>> Stock, Surface or Radar Chart.
Step 4: Once you click on Stock, Surface or Radar Chart we can see below the preview. Select the first chart under the surface chart.
Step 5: Now we will have the below chart.
Step 6: Now we need to customize this chart. To customize the chart we need to go to the Format Chart Area. This dialogue box will open if we press Ctrl + 1 by selecting the chart.
Once we press Ctrl + 1 we can see the format window opens up to the right end of the chart.
Not only through this, but we can also make quick customize by pressing the PLUS button which appears on the selection of the chart.
Step 7: One of the important format we can do is to change the color of the chart. To change the color of the chart we need to go to Design >>> Change Colors.
Step 8: Click on the drop-down list of change color to see all the available colors to this chart.
Now we can see the different colors to the surface of the chart.
Based on the length of our numbers size we can eliminate legends.
Step 9: Now we can change the style of the chart. To change the style of the chart go to Design and under Chart Styles select the style you want to apply.
I have selected “Style 4” and my chart looks like this.
Contour is Part of Surface Chart
The contour chart is always been part of the Surface chart only. We can also change the existing chart from 3D Surface Chart to Contour Chart.
To change the chart type, select the chart and go to Design >>> Change Chart type.
Under this option, we can see many charts. Place a cursor on the third chart under “Surface”, that is what contour chart is.
Apply this chart and click on OK, we will have below chart.
So, this is the basics of creating a contour plot with excel. Based on the different formatting and chart types we can modify the chart.
This has been a guide to Contour Plots in Excel. Here we discuss how to create a Contour plot/surface chart in excel with example and downloadable excel template. You can learn more about excel functions from the following articles –