Long ago, chart data in Excel became not only simple, but also automated to the point where you can easily switch from a tabular spreadsheet to a full area, bar, line, or pie chart in no time. ie with a few clicks. Then, when you edit the data in your spreadsheet, Excel automatically makes the corresponding changes to your charts and graphs.
However, that’s not the end of the program’s charting magic. For example, you can change the chart or graph type at any point, as well as edit color schemes, perspective (2D, 3D, etc.), swap axes and more.
But, of course, it all starts with the spreadsheet.
Layout your data
While Excel allows you to organize your spreadsheets in many ways, when charting your data, you’ll get the best results when you arrange it so that each row represents one record and each column contains elements of or related to specific rows.
Huh? Take for example the following spreadsheet.
The leftmost column contains the list of laser printers. With the exception of Row 1 which contains column labels or headers, each row represents a specific printer, and each subsequent cell contains data about that particular machine.
In this case, each cell contains print speed data: Column B, how long it takes to print the first page of the job; Column C, how long does it take to print all pages, including the first; Column D, how long does it take to reverse the entire document, doesn’t delete the first page.
While this is a somewhat basic spreadsheet, no matter how complex your data is, following this standard format will help streamline the process. As you’ll see above, you can map cells in a small portion of your spreadsheet or chart an entire document or worksheet.
A typical Excel chart consists of several separate sections, as shown in the image below.
Graph your data
If you haven’t done this before, you might be surprised at how easily Excel creates charts for your spreadsheets. As mentioned, you can map an entire sheet, or you can select a group of columns and rows to chart.
For example, suppose that in the worksheet we were working on in the previous section where you only wanted to chart the first two columns of data (columns B and C), omit column D. This requires a two-fold procedure. Simple steps:
- Select the data you want to chart, including the labels in the left column and the titles in the columns you want to include in your chart, as shown below.
Or, to chart an entire spreadsheet, follow these steps.
- Select all the data in the spreadsheet, as shown in the top image below. Do not selects the entire sheet, as shown in the second image below — selects only the cells containing the data.
Excel does a great job choosing the right chart type for your data, but if you prefer a different chart type, such as horizontal bars or perhaps a different color scheme, maybe even a layout 3D with colors and backgrounds. , the program creates all these effects and is easier to achieve.
Change chart type
As with everything else in Excel, there are several ways to modify your chart type. However, the easiest is.
- Select chart.
- On the menu bar, click Chart Design.
- On the Chart Design ribbon, select Change chart type.
This will open the Change Chart Type dialog box, shown here.
As you can see, there are many chart types, and clicking on one of them brings up some variation on top of the dialog box.
In addition to changing chart types from the Chart Design ribbon, you can also make some other modifications, such as color schemes, layouts, or apply one of the chapter’s many pre-designed chart styles. submit. Of course, the chart style is similar to the paragraph style in Microsoft Word. As in MS Word, you can apply one of the many existing styles, edit an existing style, or create your own.
Add and remove chart elements
Of course, the chart elements are the different elements, such as the title, legend, X and Y axes, etc., that make up your chart. You can add and remove these elements by clicking the plus icon that appears to the right of the chart when you select it.
Below the Flyout Chart Elements are Chart Style fly out, visible when you click the brush icon to the right of the chart.
Under Chart Styles you will find Graph filterallows you to turn on and off (or filter) different elements of the chart, as shown here:
If those options aren’t modding enough, there are a bunch of other options in the Format Chart Area on the right side of the sheet that let you change all aspects of the chart, from the fill and background to the line. grid, to 3D bars, pie slices, shading – I can go on, and on and on. But I’m sure you have a good understanding of what’s available.
When you click Text options, for example, you get a bunch of other effects that you can apply to the text in your chart. The options are almost unlimited, to the point where without some restrictions you can create some colorful looking charts and graphs – without even trying too hard, which leads me in a direction. important design guidelines.
Just because you have all these great design tools doesn’t mean you have to use them… .or, not too many of them at once. The idea is to make your graphic compelling enough to grab your audience’s attention, but not so busy that the design itself detracts from the message you’re trying to convey. After all, it’s the message that matters, not your design prowess or the brute force of your graphic design software.
A good rule of thumb is, if it looks too busy and distracting, it probably is; mute it down some. Don’t use too many decorative fonts, if any, as they are not easy to read. When using business-oriented charts and graphs, focus on What? you are trying to say and not so much how you say it.
Meanwhile, charting tabular data can make it much easier to understand and user-friendly than column after column of text and numbers.