Introduction to Charts in Microsoft Excel

When it comes to analysis and decision-making from the data in any business or company, numerical data in any form would make it difficult. Excel solves this problem with the use of visual representation for the numerical values using Charts in Excel. Most people think that excel is all about crunching rows and columns in the form of data but No! There is so much more to do with the data when it comes to its visual representation.

What are Charts in Excel

A chart is a visual representation of data in the form of bars, lines, pies and so much more. Displaying the data in an organized way helps the team to come up with business decisions faster. Charts help us to summarize a relationship between the numerical values, business patterns, trends that might go unnoticed if there were just numerical values used to represent them.

Amazing Points About Charts in Excel

One should know the following points in Excel to get a deeper knowledge about charts.

  • Charts are dynamic in nature. They represent the data series of numbers in visual form. Any change in the data series will be reflected in the chart.
  • When we create a chart, it can reside in the two locations in a workbook. It can either be an embedded chart or on a chart sheet.
    • The embedded chart floats as a layer on the worksheet. It inserts near the data so you can see both data and chart at the same time.
    • A chart sheet is a new sheet created only to represent the chart. It can be created by selecting the data and then pressing the F11 function key and getting the default chart type.
  • A chart act as an object in Excel like other objects including shapes or text box. We can add a chart title, legends. gridlines to the chart.
  • We can format a chart, resize it, add effects, customize it and do a lot more things to be done with a chart.
  • When we click on a chart and select it, there are two more tabs on the ribbon. Design tab and Format Tab.

Starting with Charts

Let us start working with charts.

Components of Charts in Excel

A chart is so much more than a representation. We can do a lot of things with a chart but for that, we must understand its components first.

Components of charts in Excel

A chart has many useful elements yet they are not mandatory to be mentioned. We can make an empty chart that has no chart elements. Excel allows it but it has no use. Below are the points explaining chart elements.

  • Vertical/Value Axis – It has the data series representing values. There are two vertical axes in the above graph i.e. one for income and the other for profit percentage. This is so because if we tried plotting the profit and income on one axis, the profit line might not even be visible.
  • Horizontal/Category Axis – This represents the category for each data entry. In above example, it is month.
  • Legends – A chart with two data series ( profit % and income ) is appropriate but for that excel assigns a different color scheme to both of them that are called legends.
  • Chart title – The name can be used to imply to the worker that what type of information the chart displays

Inserting a Chart in Excel

In this section of the blog, we will be knowing the steps to insert a chart in excel. Here we go

  • Let us say we have a set of data representing the monthly website visits of a company.
Inserting a chart in excel raw data
  • Select this data and Go to Insert Tab. Go to Charts group and then select the Clustered Column Chart.
Inserting a chart in excel steps
  • As a result, Excel would now create a chart in the same worksheet representing the website visitors.
Inserting a chart in excel result

Changing Chart Type

As we have now created a clustered column chart for the website visits. We can now easily change the chart types. Although clustered column chart has perfectly represented the information nothing goes in checking some other chart types.

Select the chart and a new Chart Design tab will appear on the ribbon.

Changing the chart type in excel

From there, go to Type group and click on the change chart type button.

The Change Chart Type dialog box appears.

Change chart type dialog box in excel

From here you can change the chart type in Excel. You can try on The Line Chart, Pie Chart, or any other of them.

Infographic - All About Charts in Excel

Formatting Charts in Excel

Let us take a data source that has the actual sales and target sales for each month of a company. Below is the data.

formatting a chart in excel raw data

We will insert a combo chart this time. In a combo chart, we use different chart types for different data series. In the above data, there are two data series named sales and target. Steps to do this are

  • Select the data. Go to insert tab > charts group > combo chart button. Refer to the image below.
Creating a combo chart in excel
  • Click on Create Custom Combo Chart Button to open the Insert Chart Dialog Box
  • In the Insert Chart Dialog Box, Refer to the instructions in the below figure and click ok once you are done.
Creating a combo chart in depth in exce;

Once you click ok, the chart shown in preview inserts on the current worksheet. By default, excel inserts the chart title on the top of the chart. We can change it by double-clicking on it.

combo chart in excel formatting raw data

We can format our chart to make it look even better to match the theme of the project. Following are the steps:-

  • Click on the chart to activate it.
  • Two tabs named Chart Design and Format will pop up on the ribbon. Click on Chart Design Tab.
  • In the chart styles group, click on the change colors button and choose the desired color for your chart.
formatting the combo chart in excel

We can also change the chart style from the chart style group. There are many chart styles as you can see.

This brings us to the end of the blog. Thank you for reading 😉

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formatting a chart changing chart style in excel

This brings us to the end of the blog. Thank you for reading 😉

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