Graphing in Excel

Microsoft Excel isn't the best application for creating graphs and charts, but almost everyone has access to it, so it's worth learning how to get around the common hurdles. We'll cover how to make a simple bar chart with two sets of data and a simple X-Y graph.

1. Launch the Excel application.

2. Enter your data into two columns, where Column A is the first set of data and Column B is the second set, as shown:

3. Highlight the data you want to graph.

4. From the Insert menu, choose Chart...

For a Vertical Bar Chart...

1. For Chart type, choose "Column" and select a sub-type such as "Clustered Column" as shown:

2. Click the Next button.

3. The data range will look something like: "=Sheet1!\$A\$1:\$B\$7" which means "from A1 to B7 on Sheet 1."

4. Click Next again.

5. Customize your chart's title, axis labels, etc., and then click Next.

6. Place the chart as an Object in Sheet 1 (the page where you entered your data).

7. Note that if you change the data, the bar chart changes dynamically!

8. You can now copy and paste your chart into other applicartions such as Word or PowerPoint.

For an X-Y Plot...

1. For Chart type, choose "XY (Scatter)" and select a sub-type such as "Data points connected by lines" as shown:

2. Choose the Series tab.

3. In the X values box, it will say something like "=Sheet1!\$A\$1:\$A\$7", which means "use values from A1 to A7 for X".

4. In the Y box, it will say something like "=Sheet1!\$B\$1:\$B\$7", which means "use values from B1 to B7 for Y".

5. Verify that Excel is using the right data, and then click the Next button.

5. Customize your graph's title, axis labels, etc., and then click Next.

6. Place the graph as an Object in Sheet 1 (the page where you entered your data).

7. Note that if you change the data, the graph changes dynamically!

8. You can now copy and paste your graph into other applicartions such as Word or PowerPoint.

Notes: If you need to plot more than one line on the same graph, you would add the data in Column C, and when you get to the Series window, you would specify that Series 1 uses Column A for X and Column B for Y, and that Series 2 uses Column A for X and Column C for Y.