When it comes to presenting data, a graph speaks volumes — without complicating things.
In this guide, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of creating graphs that turn data into understandable pictures.
Here's everything you need to know to build graphs in Excel, so you can easily report and analyze on your data.
Do you have your own expertise that you want to share? Use Scribe to generate your own visual step-by-step guides — in seconds.
"Scribe is so intuitive and simple to use. I can make a tutorial for team members in minutes." — Carla R., Partner Program Manager
What is a graph or chart in Excel?
An excel graph (also known as a chart) is a visual representation of data that helps you analyze, understand, and communicate information more effectively.
Graphs and charts transform raw data into graphical formats, making it easier to identify trends, patterns or comparisons in the data.
Why are graphs in Excel useful?
Graphs in Excel are useful because they show data patterns and trends, making it easier to compare information and make informed decisions. Excel's graphing tools help simplify complex information for presentations, analysis, or exploration, which promotes thorough understanding.
Graphs can help identify outliers, validate hypotheses, predict trends, and support well-informed decisions.
Ultimately, Excel's graphing features make it easier to turn data into actionable insights, which can increase efficiency and improve communication.
How to make a graph in Excel
Learn how to create a graph to visualize your data effectively.
- Select the data you want to include in the graph.
- Go to the "Insert" tab in the Excel ribbon.
- Choose the type of graph you want, such as a bar chart, line graph, or pie chart.
- The graph will appear on your worksheet, and you can customize it using the "Chart Elements" and "Chart Styles" options.
How to make a line graph in Excel
Create a line graph to display trends or changes over time.
- Select the data you want to use.
- Go to the "Insert" tab and select "Line Chart" from the chart types.
- Choose the specific subtype of line graph you want.
How to make a line graph with multiple lines in Excel
Present multiple datasets with individual lines on a single graph.
- Select the data that includes multiple sets of values.
- Go to the "Insert" tab, select "Line Chart," and choose a subtype with multiple lines.
- Excel will plot each data series as a separate line on the graph.
How to make a pie graph in Excel
- Select the data you want to use for the pie chart.
- Go to the "Insert" tab and choose "Pie Chart."
- The pie chart will be generated, and you can customize its appearance and labels.
How to make a bar graph in Excel
- Select the data you want to use.
- Go to the "Insert" tab and select "Bar Chart." Choose the specific subtype of bar graph you want.
How to make a bar graph in Excel from a table
- Format your data in a table format (columns with headings).
- Select the table.
- Go to the "Insert" tab and choose "Bar Chart." Excel will automatically recognize your table data and create the graph.
How to make a bar graph in Excel with two variables
- Arrange your data in a table with two variables (e.g., categories and corresponding values).
- Select the data.
- Go to the "Insert" tab and choose "Clustered Bar Chart" or "Stacked Bar Chart."
How to make a time series graph in Excel
- Organize your data with time-related values (dates or timestamps) and corresponding data points.
- Select the data.
- Go to the "Insert" tab and choose "Line Chart" to create a time series line graph.
How to make a semi-log graph in Excel
- Format your data with one axis on a logarithmic scale.
- Create a line graph as usual, and then format one of the axes as logarithmic using the "Axis Options" settings.
How to make a supply and demand graph in Excel
- Label your axes with "Quantity" and "Price."
- Plot your supply and demand data points on the graph using the scatter plot option.
- Add trendlines or connect the data points to represent the supply and demand curves.
How to make a Scatter Plot in Excel
A scatter plot displays individual data points as dots on a graph, making it useful for showing the relationship between two variables. It's often used to identify correlations or trends.
- Select the data with two variables (X and Y).
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "Scatter Chart."
- Select the scatter plot type you prefer.
How to make an area chart in Excel
An area chart displays data points as filled-in areas, making it easy to see how values change over time while also showing the overall trend.
- Select the data with time-based or category data.
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "Area Chart."
- Select the area chart subtype you want.
How to make a radar chart in Excel
Also known as a spider chart, this type of graph displays data points on multiple axes radiating from a central point. It's used for comparing multiple data sets in a two-dimensional manner.
- Select the data with multiple variables.
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "Radar Chart."
- Choose the radar chart type you want.
How to make a histogram in Excel
A histogram is used to show the distribution of data within specified ranges. It's particularly useful for visualizing frequency distributions.
- Prepare a frequency distribution table for your data.
- Go to the "Data" tab, choose "Data Analysis," and select "Histogram."
- Input the data range and bin range to create the histogram.
How to make a box and whisker plot in Excel
This plot displays statistical data based on quartiles, helping to identify the spread and skewness of a dataset.
- Select the data you want to analyze.
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "Box & Whisker."
- Customization options will appear in the "Chart Elements" panel.
How to make a waterfall chart in Excel
A waterfall chart shows cumulative effect of sequentially introduced positive and negative values, making it useful for illustrating financial or business data.
- Prepare data with categories and values (positive and negative).
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "Waterfall Chart."
- Input the data ranges, and Excel will generate the waterfall chart.
How to make a pivot chart in Excel
A pivot chart is a dynamic chart linked to a pivot table. It allows you to filter, sort, and analyze data interactively.
- Create a Pivot table from your data.
- Highlight the PivotTable, go to the "Insert" tab, and choose "PivotChart."
- Select the chart type and customize as needed.
How to make a stock chart in Excel
A stock chart, also known as a high-low-close chart, is used to display stock market data with high, low, and closing prices over a specified time period.
- Prepare data with date, high, low, and closing prices.
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "Stock Chart."
- Select the stock chart subtype you want.
How to make a surface chart in Excel
A surface chart displays data points as a 3D surface, often used to show the relationship between three variables.
- Prepare data with X, Y, and Z (value) coordinates.
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "3-D Surface."
- Input the data ranges, and Excel will create the surface chart.
How to make a Doughnut chart in Excel
Similar to a pie chart, a doughnut chart displays data as slices, but with a hole in the center, allowing for the display of multiple data series.
- Prepare data for the chart.
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "Doughnut Chart."
- Customize the slices, labels, and hole size as needed.
How to make a bubble chart in Excel
A bubble chart represents data using bubbles of varying sizes, where the size of the bubble represents a third data dimension.
- Prepare data with X, Y, and bubble size values.
- Go to the "Insert" tab, choose "Bubble Chart."
Input the data ranges, and Excel will generate the bubble chart.
Let your data speak for itself. With each graph you create, you're not just illustrating data – you're telling a story that empowers understanding and drives informed actions.
Present your data with confidence and make your information resonate like never before.
Want to share processes just as easily? Build step-by-step guides in seconds with Scribe — for free!