How to Insert Chart in Excel
MS Excel is one of the most powerful spreadsheet tools in Office Suite, and charts are essential presentation elements of Excel. The charts help us to visualize the Excel data graphically. The graphical representation makes it easier to analyze or interpret data than the displayed data in cells. Sometimes, a simple chart in Excel can be more meaningful and helpful than a sheet full of values or numbers. Therefore, it is essential to know the process of inserting a chart in Excel.
This article discusses the step-by-step procedure to insert a chart in an Excel workbook. Since Excel has various charts, the article also covers choosing different types of charts available in Excel that best fit the Excel data.
Inserting a Chart in Excel
Inserting charts into Excel is an easy-to-use process. For instance, we take the following sheet as an example and insert a chart for it.
To create a chart for the above data in Excel, we need to follow the steps mentioned below:
A wide range of charts is supported in Excel to help us choose the right chart, making graphical representation more effective with the data. The following charts are frequently used in Excel:
Depending on the Excel version we are using, several other charts can be found under the Charts section. Each chart is designed for a specific purpose and has its advantages. If we are not sure to select an appropriate chart type, we can go through the Recommended Chart section under that Insert tab. This option typically suggests some specific charts based on the source data.
Changing Chart Type
If we insert any chart but do not like it for some reason, we can always change it to another chart type. We don't need to repeat the whole process. We need to follow the below steps:
Adjusting Chart Layout & Style
Once a chart is inserted, there are several elements of the chart that we may wish to change their parameters on how our data is displayed. It's easy to edit the layout and style of a chart from the Design tab. Some of the most common adjustments in chart layout and style are discussed below:
Excel allows us to add or insert desired chart elements, such as chart titles, legends, data labels, etc. Chart elements help make our charts easier to read. To insert a chart element, we need to click on the 'Add Chart Element' option under the Design tab, then select the desired element from the drop-down menu.
If we do not want to insert chart elements manually, we can use one of the predefined layouts of Excel. We need to click on the 'Quick Layout' option and select the required layout by clicking the drop-down menu icon.
Excel also provides many different chart styles, so we can easily change the look and interface of our inserted charts. To modify the chart style, we need to choose the desired style from the Chart Styles menu.
We can also use chart formatting shortcut buttons to insert desired chart elements, change chart styles, and quickly filter chart data. The shortcut is located on the right side of the chart and looks like the following image:
Switching Row and Column Data
Sometimes we may need to alter the way charts group our data. For example, salary distribution data is grouped by year in the chart below, with columns for each distribution source type.
However, we can switch the rows and columns to group the data by the distribution source type, with columns for each year. In both the cases (before and after switching rows and columns), the chart contains the same data-it's only arranged differently. We can follow the below steps to switch row and column data:
Excel also allows us to move the legend position to any side of the chart. For example, we can move a legend to the left, right, top and bottom.
We need to perform the following steps to change the legend position in our chart:
Similarly, we can move other chart elements. Despite this, we can enable/disable chart elements by selecting the checkbox in a list that we get by clicking on the plus (+) icon from the right side of the chart.
Moving a Chart
When we insert a chart in our Excel sheet, it is inserted in the form of an object with the source data. Excel allows us to move the inserted data to another sheet. This way, we can insert an existing chart from one sheet to another and keep our data organized.
We need to follow the below steps to move/ insert a chart from one Excel sheet to another:
Keeping Charts Up to Date
By default, when we add more data to our spreadsheet, the new data may not be included in the chart. We can fix it by adjusting the specific data range manually. We can click and select the chart, which will highlight the data range in an active sheet. We can then click and drag the handle from the lower-right corner to change the range of the data.
If we frequently add more data to our worksheets, it can become difficult to update the data range. However, there is an easier way. We should format our source data as a table, then create a chart based on that table. Adding more data to the bottom of the table will automatically join both the table and the chart, keeping everything consistent and up to date.