Excel 2010 Working with Charts

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Excel 2010

Working with Charts


Lesson 17 
chart is a tool you can use in Excel to communicate your data graphically. Charts allow your audience to see the meaning behind the numbers, and they make showing comparisons and trends a lot easier. In this lesson, you will learn how to insert charts and modify them so that they communicate information effectively.


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Excel workbooks can contain a lot of data, and that data can often be difficult to interpret. For example, where are the highest and lowest values? Are the numbers increasing or decreasing?
The answers to questions like these can become much clearer when the data is represented as a chart. Excel has many different types of charts, so you can choose one that most effectively represents the data.
Watch the video to learn about creating and modifying a chart.

Types of Charts

Use the interactive below to view examples of some of the types of charts that are available in Excel.

Identifying the Parts of a Chart

Use the interactive below to learn about the different parts of a chart.

To Create a Chart:

  1. Select the cells that you want to chart, including the column titles and the row labels. These cells will be thesource data for the chart.
    Selecting cellsSelecting cells
  2. Click the Insert tab.
  3. In the Charts group, select the desired chart category (Column, for example).
    Selecting the Column categorySelecting the Column category
  4. Select the desired chart type from the drop-down menu (Clustered Column, for example).
    Selecting a chart typeSelecting a chart type
  5. The chart will appear in the worksheet.
    The new chartThe new chart

    Chart Tools

    Once you insert a chart, a set of Chart Tools, arranged into three tabs, will appear on the Ribbon. These are only visible when the chart is selected. You can use these three tabs to modify your chart.
    The Design, Layout and Format tabsThe Design, Layout and Format tabs

    To Change the Chart Type:

    1. From the Design tab, click the Change Chart Type command. A dialog box appears.
      The Change Chart Type commandThe Change Chart Type command
    2. Select the desired chart type and click OK.
      The Change Chart Type commandSelecting a chart type

    To Switch Row and Column Data:

    Sometimes when you create a chart, the data may not be grouped the way you want it to be. In the clustered column chart below, the Book Sales statistics are grouped by Fiction/Non-Fiction, with a column for each year. However, you can also switch the row and column data so that the chart will group the statistics by year, with columns for Fiction and Non-Fiction. In both cases, the chart contains the same data; it's just organized differently.
    Book Sales, grouped by Fiction/Non-FictionBook Sales, grouped by Fiction/Non-Fiction
    1. Select the chart.
    2. From the Design tab, select the Switch Row/Column command.
      The Switch Row/Column commandThe Switch Row/Column command
    3. The chart will then readjust.
      Book sales, grouped by yearBook sales, grouped by year

    To Change the Chart Layout:

    1. Select the Design tab.
    2. Click the More drop-down arrow in the Chart Layouts group to see all of the available layouts.
      Viewing all of the chart layoutsViewing all of the chart layouts
    3. Select the desired layout.
      Selecting a chart layoutSelecting a chart layout
    4. The chart will update to reflect the new layout.
    The updated layoutThe updated layout
    Some layouts include chart titlesaxes, or legend labels. To change them, just place the insertion point in the text and begin typing. 

    To Change the Chart Style:

    1. Select the Design tab.
    2. Click the More drop-down arrow in the Chart Styles group to see all of the available styles.
      The Change Chart Type commandViewing all of the Chart Styles
    3. Select the desired style.
      Selecting a chart styleSelecting a chart style
    4. The chart will update to reflect the new style.
    The updated chartThe updated chart

    To Move the Chart to a Different Worksheet:

    1. Select the Design tab.
    2. Click the Move Chart command. A dialog box appears. The current location of the chart is selected.
      The Move Chart commandThe Move Chart command
    3. Select the desired location for the chart (i.e., choose an existing worksheet, or select New Sheet and name it).
      Selecting a different worksheet for the chartSelecting a different worksheet for the chart
    4. Click OK. The chart will appear in the new location.



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