Excel 2013 Essential Training: How to Create Charts in Excel

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Creating charts

In this worksheet, called CreatingCharts in the workbook 07-Charting, we've got two sets of data and we might want to depict this data in a visual way. Excel's charting capability has long been one of its most popular features. And by the way, the term "chart" and the term "graph", often used interchangeably, in Excel, we use the term "chart", officially and formally. Let's select the data that we want to depict graphically. We can easily display this information as a chart simply by clicking the Quick Access Tool that often appears when we select data.

Click it, choose Charts>Clustered Column. What does that mean? We don't necessarily know. But that chart looks pretty good. Let's just click and we've got a chart. That's certainly one way. You can move charts--and eventually we would want to move this to position it so we can see your data as well as the chart-- simply drag an edge of the chart. You can resize the chart by dragging one of the so-called corner handles or side handles, shrink it and make it enlarged as you wish.

We've got other data here as well, how about another approach. This data has totals in it, as a general rule--but certainly not an ironclad rule--including totals and details together doesn't work so well; but let's show another quick approach to creating a chart. This time on the Insert tab in the ribbon, choose "Recommended Charts". And as we look at these charts, we can click on them and get a better view off to the right. The grand totals seemed to be not ideal in terms of our display; it distorts the look of the charts.

So, let's escape from here, select just this data, jump back up there to Recommended Charts and now these previews look a lot better. And as you look at these previews too, you begin to pick up some of the terminology. This is a Stacked Bar Chart. Bar charts are horizontal in Excel. Column charts are vertical. Stacking means you are putting multiple fields together, clustered means you're not. So we see different terms here that we will see often as we work with charts. We like one of the others here. We'll just click it, click OK or double- click it and we've got a chart for that data as well; move it off to the side.

At certain times when you're creating charts, you've selected the data and you know which chart you would like to use immediately. So when you're ready to make a chart selection, click Insert and then to the right of the Recommended Charts, we see various types here. We might want to choose a Line Chart here or maybe a Pie Chart--is that going to make sense?--or maybe we do like a certain kind of bar chart here. So there's a Bar Chart and there's the Stacked one. We like the look of that, so there we go. An even faster method, but not necessarily the best--depends upon whether you like the chart style--is to select the data and simply press Alt+F1 and you will get a chart immediately; a Clustered Column chart on the same worksheet.

Another quick approach, you've got your data selected, press the function key F11 and you'll immediately get a chart on a new sheet to the left of the sheet that has the data. So we are on a sheet called Chart1. Our data is on a sheet called "CreatingCharts". The advantage of working with a chart all by itself is that's our focus and nothing else--no data around on the side. We will spend some time perhaps in designing this chart or making it look the way we want. If we change our minds at some point and say we want this on another sheet, we can simply right-click here and then move the chart to a different location.

If we no longer need this, we'll simply right-click and delete that sheet. Similarly, if we are working with a chart and we do want it to be on a separate sheet, for example this one, we could right-click the chart and choose Move Chart and put it on a brand new sheet; in this case, it would be called Chart2. So that's another option. Now, many times when you're creating charts, the amount of data that you're choosing to depict in a chart is a relatively small amount compared with the size of some of the worksheets we might have been working with; but there are cases when you're selecting, for example, meter readings over a huge amount of time, you might have quite a few cells selected, so there's no real limit on how many cells are being selected.

But in general, we tend to see, when we're creating charts and in many of the examples, depict a small amount of data. But we've seen a number of quick ways to create them. Again, selecting the data and pressing Alt+F1--the very fast way--or simply using on the Insert tab, the various recommended charts that pop up. There's no question that creating charts is fast, it's easy and you can easily get rid of them just as well by simply clicking on the chart and pressing Delete.

Creating charts
Video duration: 4m 36s 6h 32m Appropriate for all


Creating charts provides you with in-depth training on Business. Taught by Dennis Taylor as part of the Excel 2013 Essential Training

Business Education + Elearning
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