Graphs And Charts In Excel

Updated on December 28, 2023
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited bySheeba M
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Are Graphs And Charts In Excel?

Graphs and Charts in Excel are the pictorial representation of datasets for easy presentation and understanding. Graphs represent the numeric data and show the relation and variation of how one number affects or changes another. However, charts represent data that may or may not be related.

For example, when we plot a graph or a chart using the numeric values, we get the following pictorial representation.

Graphs and Charts in Excel - 1

Let us consider how to arrive at this chart in the article.

Key Takeaways

  • The Graphs and Charts in Excel are the graphical representation of any selected dataset. It represents the data in a user understandable way.
  • In a presentation, when we represent the data as a chart or graph, we can comprehend the trend with just a glimpse. Unlike the numeric value datasets, we cannot immediately identify the maximum and minimum values, the increase or decrease in profit, etc.
  • To generate an accurate chart or graph, we must sort the data in the required order, ensure to have all the data filled, i.e., no empty or blank cells, and the cell values must always be numeric. i.e., not special characters or alpha-numeric values.

How To Make Charts And Graphs In Excel?

We can create Excel Charts and Graphs as follows:

  • First, choose the dataset or the cell range required to plot the graph, ensure we have valid numeric data, and no blank or empty cells.
  • Next, select the “Insert” tab → go to the “Charts” group → click the “Insert Column or Bar Chart” option drop-down → select the “Clustered Column” chart type from the “2-D Column” category, as shown below.
How to make Graphs and Charts in Excel
  • Finally, the chart automatically generates in the worksheet. Then, we can format it accordingly.

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Types To Create Graphs And Charts In Excel

We can create Excel Graphs and Charts in 2 types, namely,

  1. Auto Selection of Data Range → Here, we select the dataset first, insert a chart type, and then the chart is generated. Later, we use the “Format Data Series” to format it further.
  1. Manual Data Selection → Here, we first insert a chart using the “Insert” tab. A blank chart generates in the background, as shown below. Then, click the “Select Data…”, and format it to get the required chart.
Types to Create Graphs and Charts in Excel


Let us consider a couple of examples to show how to create Graphs and Charts automatically and manually.

Example #1

Assume we have passed six years of sales data. We want to show them in visuals or graphs.

Make Chart Example 1

The steps to create a Graph or Chart using automatic data selection type are,

  1. First, we must select the date range we are using for a graph.

    Make Chart Example 1-1

  2. Then, go to the “INSERT” tab → under the “Charts” section, and select the “COLUMN” chart. We can see many other types under the “Column” chart, but prefer the first one.

    Make Chart Example 1-2

  3. As soon as we have selected the chart, we can see the below chart in Excel.

    Make Chart Example 1-3

  4. It is not the final chart. We need to make some changes here. So, we must select the blue-colored bars and press the “Delete” button. Else, right-click on the bars & choose “Delete.”

    Make Chart Example 1-4

  5. Now, we do not know which bar represents which year. So, right-click on the chart and select “Select Data…”

    Make Chart Example 1-5

  6. In the below window, we must click “EDIT,” which is on the right-hand side.

    Make Chart Example 1-6

  7. After we click the “EDIT option,” we will see a small dialog box below. It will ask to select the “Horizontal Axis Labels.” So, choose the “Year” column.

    Make Chart Example 1-7

  8. Now, we have the “Year” name below each bar.

    Make Chart Example 1-8

  9. After that, change the heading or title of the chart as per the requirement by double-clicking on the existing header.

    Make Chart Example 1-9

  10. Add “Data Labels” for each bar. The “Data Labels” are each bar’s numbers to convey the message perfectly. Right-click on the column bars and select “Add Data Labels.”

    Make Chart Example 1-10

  11. Change the color of the column bars to different colors. Next, select the bars and press “Ctrl + 1.” We may see the format chart dialog box on the right-hand side.

    Make Chart Example 1-11

  12. Now, go to the “FILL” option, and select the option “Vary colors by point.”

    Make Chart Example 1-12

    Now, we have a neatly arranged chart, as shown below.

    Make Chart Example 1-13

Example #2

We have seen how to create a graph with auto-selection of the data range. Next, we will show you how to build an Excel chart with a manual data selection.

The steps to create a Graph or Chart using manual data selection type are,

  • Step 1: First, we must place the cursor in the empty cell, and click the “Insert Chart.”
click on the insert chart
  • Step 2: After we click on the “Insert Chart,” we can see a blank chart.
Make Chart Example 2-1
  • Step 3: Right-click on the chart, and choose the “Select Data” option.
right-click on the chart and chose Select Data option
  • Step 4: In the below window, click “Add.”
select data source
  • Step 5: In the below window, under “Series name,” select the heading of the data series, and under the “Series values,” select data series values.
Edit Series
  • Step 6: Now, the default chart is ready.
Make Chart Example 2-5

Now, we must apply the steps shown in the previous example to modify the chart. i.e., refer to steps 5 to 12 to format the chart.

Important Things To Note

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are some tips to follow when plotting a Graph and Chart in Excel?

A few tips to follow while creating a Graph and Chart in Excel are as follows:

1) Numerical Data: The first thing required in your Excel is numerical data. Charts or graphs can only be built using numerical data sets.
2) Data Headings: These are often called data labels. The headings of each column should be understandable and readable.
3) Data in Proper Order: It is important how the data looks in Excel. If the information to build a chart is in bits and pieces, it is difficult to construct a chart. So, arrange the data properly.

2. Name the different types of charts available in Excel.

The different types of charts available in Excel are as follows:

A Pie Graph displays the data as a pie or a circular form.
The Column or Bar Graph displays statistical data relation or variation in the form of Bars or Columns, i.e., horizontally or vertically, respectively.
A Line Graph displays the selected dataset as a line, which is easy to understand and not cluttered.
The Area Graph is like a line graph to represent data comparison and to keep track of data trends.
The Scatter Graph is mostly used for a smaller dataset as the graph will look like scattered dots for data points.

3. Why is the Graph or Chart in Excel not working?

A few reasons why a Graph or Chart in Excel may not work are as follows:

The dataset linked to the generated chart is modified, and the chart did not update automatically. In such scenarios, we can refresh the chart once to display the updated data.
The dataset is not selected, or it is deleted. So, there is no data range to display or generate the chart.

Download Template

This article must help understand Graphs and Charts in Excel with its formulas and examples. You can download the template here to use it instantly.

You can download this Make Chart Excel Template here – Make Chart Excel Template

This article is a guide to Making Charts in Excel. Here, we discuss how to make charts or graphs in Excel, practical examples, and a downloadable Excel template. You may learn more about Excel from the following articles: –

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