Most companies (and people) don’t want khổng lồ pore through pages and pages of spreadsheets when it’s so quick lớn turn those rows và columns into a visual chart or graph. But someone has to bởi vì it…and that person must be you.

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Ready to lớn turn your boring Excel spreadsheet into something a little more interesting?

In Excel, you’ve got everything you need at your fingertips. Excel users can leverage the power of visuals without any additional extensions. You can create a graph or chart right inside Excel rather than exporting it into some other tool.

What is the difference between Charts & Graphs?

According khổng lồ…“The difference between graphs and charts is mainly in the way the data is compiled và the way it is represented. Graphs are usually focused on raw data và showing the trends & changes in that data over time. Charts are best used when data can be categorized or averaged lớn create more simplistic and easily consumed figures.

So technically, charts và graphs mean separate things, but in the real world, you’ll hear the terms used interchangeably. People generally accept both so don’t worry too much about it!


In this post, you’ll learn exactly how to lớn create a graph in Excel and improve your visuals & reporting…but first let’s talk about charts. Understanding exactly how charts play out in Excel will help with understanding graphs in Excel.

Charts in Excel

Charts are usually considered more aesthetically pleasing than graphs. Something lượt thích a pie chart is used khổng lồ convey to lớn readers the relative nói qua of a particular segment of the data phối with respect lớn other segments that are available. If instead of the changes in hours worked and annual leaves over 5 years, you want khổng lồ present the percentage contributions of the different types of tasks that hóa trang a 40 hour work week for employees in your organization then you can definitely insert a pie chart into your spreadsheet for the desired impact.

An example of an Excel chart.

Graphs in Excel

Graphs represent variations in values of data points over a given duration of time. They are simpler than charts because you are dealing with different data parameters. Comparing và contrasting segments of the same set against one another is more difficult.

So if you are trying khổng lồ see how the number of hours worked per week and the frequency of annual leaves for employees in your company has fluctuated over the past 5 years, you can create a simple line graph và track the spikes & dips khổng lồ get a fair idea.

An example of a graph in Excel.

Types of Graphs Available in Excel

Excel offers three varieties of graphs:

Line Graphs: Both 2 dimensional and three dimensional line graphs are available in all the versions of Microsoft Excel. Line graphs are great for showing trends over time. Simultaneously plot more than one data parameter – lượt thích employee compensation, average number of hours worked in a week and average number of annual leaves against the same X axis or time.Column Graphs: Column graphs also help viewers see how parameters change over time. But they can be called “graphs” when only a single data parameter is used. If multiple parameters are called into action, viewers can’t really get any insights about how each individual parameter has changed. As you can see in the Column graph below, average numbers of hours worked in a weekaverage number of annual leaves when plotted side by side do not provide the same clarity as the Line graph.

Bar Graphs: Bar graphs are very similar to lớn column graphs but here the constant parameter (say time) is assigned to the Y axis & the variables are plotted against the X axis.

How to Make a Graph in Excel

1. Fill the Excel Sheet with Your Data & Assign the Right Data Types

The first step is to actually populate an Excel spreadsheet with the data that you need. If you have imported this data from a different software, then it’s probably been compiled in a .csv (comma separated values) formatted document.

If this is the case, use an online CSV to Excel converter like the one here khổng lồ generate the Excel tệp tin or xuất hiện it in Excel & save the tệp tin with an Excel extension.

After converting the file, you still may need khổng lồ clean up the rows & the columns. It is better lớn work with a clean spreadsheet so that the Excel graph you’re creating is clean & easy to lớn modify or change.

If that doesn’t work, you may also need lớn manually enter the data into the spreadsheet or copy và paste it over before creating the Excel graph.

Excel has two components lớn its spreadsheets:

The rows that are horizontal and marked with numbers The columns that are vertical and marked with alphabets

After all the data values have been set and accounted for, make sure that you visit the Number section under the Home tab and assign the right data type to lớn the various columns. If you bởi not vày this, chances are your graphs will not show up right.


For example if column B is measuring time, ensure that you choose the option Time from the drop down menu & assign it khổng lồ B.

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Choose the Type of Excel Graph You Want khổng lồ Create

This will depend on the type of data you have and the number of different parameters you will be tracking simultaneously.

If you are looking to lớn take cảnh báo of trends over time then Line graphs are your best bet. This is what we will be using for the purpose of the tutorial.Let us assume that we are tracking Average Number of Hours Worked/Week/Employee and Average Number of Leaves/Employee/Year against a five year time span.

Highlight The Data Sets That You Want to lớn Use

For a graph to lớn be created, you need khổng lồ select the different data parameters.

To vì chưng this, bring your cursor over the cell marked A. You will see it transform into a tiny arrow pointing downwards. When this happens, click on the cell A and the entire column will be selected.

Repeat the process with columns BC, pressing the Ctrl (Control) button on Windows or using the Command key with Mac users.

Your final selection should look something lượt thích this:


Create the Basic Excel Graph

With the columns selected, visit the Insert tab & choose the option 2D Line Graph.

You will immediately see a graph appear below your data values.

Sometimes if you bởi not assign the right data type lớn your columns in the first step, the graph may not show in a way that you want it to. For example, Excel may plot the parameter Average Number of Leaves/Employee/Year along the X axis instead of the Year. In this case, you can use the option Switch Row/Column under the Design tab of Chart Tools to play around with various combinations of X axis and Y axis parameters till you hit on the perfect rendition.

Improve Your Excel Graph with the Chart Tools

To change colors or lớn change the kiến thiết of your graph, go to lớn Chart Tools in the Excel header.

You can select from the design, layout & format. Each will change up the look and feel of your Excel graph.

Design: Design allows you to lớn move your graph & re-position it. It gives you the freedom to change the chart type. You can even experiment with different chart layouts. This may conform more to lớn your brand guidelines, your personal style, or your manager’s preference.

Layout: This allows you to change the title of the axis, the title of your chart và the position of the legend. You might go with vertical text along the Y axis & horizontal text along the X axis. You can even adjust the grid lines. You have every formatting tool conceivable at your fingertips to lớn improve the look and feel of your graph.

Format: The Format tab allows you khổng lồ add a border in your chosen width and color around the graph to lớn properly separate it from the data points that are filled in the rows & columns.

And there you have it. An accurate visual representation of the data that you have imported or entered manually khổng lồ help your team members và stakeholders better engage with the information và utilize it to create strategies or be more aware of all the constraints while taking decisions!

Challenges with Making a Graph In Excel

When manipulating simple data sets, you can create a graph fairly easily.

But when you start adding in several types of data with multiple parameters, then there will be glitches. Here are some of the challenges that you’re going lớn have:

Data sorting can be problematic when creating graphs. Online tutorials might recommend data sorting khổng lồ make your “charts” look more aesthetically appealing. But beware of when the X axis is a time-based parameter! Sorting data values by magnitude may mess up the flow of the graph because the dates are sorted randomly. You may not be able to lớn spot the trends very well.

You may forget khổng lồ remove duplicates. This is especially true if you have imported the data from a third-party application. Generally, this type of information is not filtered of redundancies. And you might over up corrupting the integrity of your information if duplicates sneak into your pictorial representation of trends. When working with copious volumes of data, it is best to lớn use the Remove Duplicates option on your rows.

Creating graphs in Excel doesn’t have lớn be overly complex, but, much like with creating Gantt charts in Excel, there can be some easier tools to help you do it. If you’re trying to create graphs for workloads, budget allocations or monitoring projects, check out project management software instead.

Many of those functions are automated and without manual data entry. & you won’t be left wondering about who has the latest data sets. Most project management solutions, lượt thích, have tệp tin sharing and some visualization capabilities built-in.