Excel Surface Chart (Plot)
Surface Chart is a three-dimensional excel chart that plots the data points in three dimensions. You can see the mesh kind of surface which helps us to find the optimum combination between two kinds of data points. A typical surface chart is consists of three variable data points, let’s call them “X, Y, and Z”. From these available three variables, we can categorize them into two sets i.e. Independent and Dependent variables. Two variables will be independent variables and one being the dependent variable.
So, in such a way surface chart shows the relationship between data points through mesh surface.
Examples to Create Surface Chart (Plot) in Excel
Consider the below data to create your first-ever Surface Chart in excel.
Follow the below steps to create an excel surface chart
Step 1: Open excel spreadsheet first.
Step 2: Copy the above table of data to one of the worksheets. And choose the data range.
Step 3: Now in the ribbon tab choose the “INSERT” option.
Step 4: Under the INSERT tab you can see the “Chart” section. In this section choose Stock, Surface or Radar Chart in excel. Under this category of charts choose the “3D Surface” chart.
Step 5: As soon as you click on the “3D Surface Chart” you will see the below default Surface Chart in your worksheet.
Step 6: This isn’t the final end-user surface chart. We need to customize the chart to view this much better.
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Select the chart and press the shortcut key Ctrl + 1 to open up the FORMAT CHART AREA to the right of the excel spreadsheet (Excel 2013 Onwards).
Step 7: From that FORMAT CHART AREA you can change the color of the mesh, horizontal, and vertical axis customization and do many more things.
In order to change the color of the mesh, you can do this under the DESIGN tab itself. By selecting the chart you can see two Chart Tools tabs i.e. “Design and Format”.
Choose the “Design” tab and go to “Change Color” and choose the color as per your convenience.
As you can see I have chosen the fourth one and I can see the preview of my chart on the right side. Like this place, a cursor on each of the different color sets to preview the chart before finalizing the color combination.
Step 8: The next thing we need to do is to “Switch Row/Column”. Because at the time of insertion of the chart excel assumes horizontal things are data series and vertical things are categories.
So we need to change the row/column under the Design tab.
As soon as you select this option our chart will change automatically and now it looks like the below one.
Now let’s look one more example of Surface Chart. For this consider below data set.
Copy the data to a worksheet.
By selecting the data to choose the insert chart option.
Now we can see the below chart.
Now under the design tab choose “Quick Layout” and choose “Layout 5”.
Now our chart looks like this.
So, like this, we can create mesh kind of surface chart in excel.
Things to Remember
- Surface Chart is not the most often used chart in the practical world so you will not find so many resources to work with it.
- Always choose a different color combination to give visual effects.
This has been a guide to the Surface Chart in Excel. Here we will learn how to create a surface plot using the excel spreadsheet along with practical examples and a downloadable template. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –