Excel is one of the most powerful applications out there. It can be used for countless tasks and has saved many people millions of dollars. One thing that Excel does great builds charts, graphs, and tables to represent the data in your spreadsheet.
Using the options in Excel, you can create any type of chart from axis scales to pie charts to histograms. However, creating these complex models can be a tough task for some people who are either new to Excel or just don’t have as much time on their hands as others.
This article will teach you how to quickly get started creating charts for whatever needs you may have at hand without having to go through a ton of steps and make things more difficult than they should be.
Step 1: Open the Spreadsheet
Open the spreadsheet that you want to have a chart built-in. At this point, you should have a long vertical column of text with your numbers or other variables that you are seeking to show comparative ideas by. If not, go to File -> New and insert a blank workbook. Then copy and paste the text into that blank workbook.
Step 2: Create Bar Chart
To start, select your data while holding down the left mouse button on either of columns A or B and dragging it over to column C on the far right side of the spreadsheet. Now you should see C1 through C12 highlighted. This is the area in that you want to be dynamic.
Step 3: Create Axis Range Lines
If your chart has an axis, the lines that display the scale for that axis will be colour-coded. For example, in this image, there is an axis range of [0,100]. When you select text in a cell and drag it to a specific range as shown in red here, it becomes a bar. This is called a bar chart range and you can also see it in the same set of cells where you clicked and dragged the data.
Step 4: Create Axis Scale & Vertical Lines
Next, we will create some vertical scales at each end of our moving or live data. The scales that are created string out perfectly on either side of our moving column A or B (depending on which way we dragged our data).
To create an axis line, right-click on the column headings (A) and select Format Cells. In the Format Cells box, select Number. Put a check in Decimal Places, change the type to Percentage, and then click on Patterns under Alignment to get rid of all of those annoying commas that appear when numbers are dynamic. Now you should see a nice axis line with a percentage sign at each end of your moving date.
Step 5: Creating Data Points
Right-click on any cell in column C and select Copy. This will copy all the contents from the cell over to the clipboard where it can be pasted into another cell. Then double-click on any blank spot below column C and then paste your copied data into that blank space.
You can now see your cursor has changed to a pencil icon. Click on one of the highlighted cells at either end of your moving data (here we are clicking on B6).
You should see the numbers in column C change here and there to match up with the dynamic data that already exists within column A or B. This is how Excel will create our data points.
Step 6: Create Chart Area
This is where you put all of your final touches on the chart to make it look exactly as you want it to. At this point, select the area that you want to be the chart area by selecting an entire column or row (i.e., column C in our example above).
Step 7: Creating Your Chart Caption
You can change the labels of the individual bars by right-clicking on each data point, selecting Format, and then changing the Fill colour (here we make them red). This will show up at both ends of each column or row where there is a data point.
I would also recommend adding some text to make the whole chart more readable. Right-click on any empty cell in column C of your chart, select Format and then choose Label Sheet.
How do I change the colour of the gridlines in a chart?
ANS: Right-click on any cell in one of the cells that are highlighted in pink below, then select Format Cells. In the Format Cells box, select Line Graph. Now you should see a check box for both Grid Lines and Grid Lines where you can choose from many different colours that you want to display on your chart.
It is important to note that if you want to extend these lines beyond the area of data being drawn, remember that there may be more than one row per column and column per row depending on the size of your data. If this appears to be the case, it is important to use Gridlines and not Grid Lines so that all of your grid lines are in the same direction.
How do I change the size of the font of a chart?
ANS: Right-click on any cell in one of the cells that are highlighted in pink below, then select Format Cells. In the Format Cells box, select Font. Here you can choose from many different sizes depending on what you are trying to achieve.
For example, if you are using a pie chart and want it to be as big as possible while keeping all of your data uncluttered and clear, increase your font size and decrease your number of data points. The important thing to remember is the more text the better. Also, be sure to use the same font on all of the axis and chart labels.
How do I change the position of a chart?
ANS: It depends on the type of chart you have created. For example, if you have a column chart (as in our example above) and you want it to appear above or below another chart. First highlight all of the cells that are beneath that which you want to be below and make sure there is adequate space.
Then highlight all of the cells that are beneath that which you want to be above, again making sure there is adequate space. Then click and drag the entire column directly up or down as necessary so all surrounding content can still fit underneath it. You should now see this highlighted area change from yellow to blue depending on whether your selection is above or below your selection.
How do I find out the data points that are used in a line graph?
ANS: If a line graph has been created with data points, right-click on any cell where there is a data point, select Format Cells, and then choose Line. In the box that pops up, you will see the format options for this particular graph.
This is great because you can make all of the lines solid or dashed or whatever else you want. For example, if there are only two different kinds of data shown in your line graph (e.g., light green and darker green), then you can make each different colour become its own separate series on your chart.
We can’t possibly cover all of the many different types of information that can be displayed in a line graph. However, we have shown you how to create some simple line graphs that require only minimal data. You should always keep in mind that there are very few limits to what Excel can do. Excel is a very versatile tool, and it continues to add new features all the time. And, with a little training and practice, anyone can learn how to use this valuable software tool effectively and efficiently.