In general, the reason we spend time keeping track of all these numbers is so that we can see and get a handle on the underlying story. Is business getting better? How much of my household budget goes toward gasoline? Excel makes it easy to visualize your numbers by translating them into charts and graphs. That's what we'll look at in this lesson. So here's a spreadsheet where we keep track of different sales people and the cars that they sell. And across the top here we divide sales into quarters and months.
So suppose we want to zero in on the first month of the year and see what kind of sales each of these salespeople had. I'm going to select the first three columns here and then go to insert and take a look at the chart groups here. And this is where you decide what format chart will work best for the data that you've chosen. I'm going to choose the Column chart, and that's a really common one to use along with Line and Pie, probably. We're just going to use this first simple column chart for this data, but you can see there are lots of options. Some of these are really just visual options.
So, you have cylinder and cone and columns, and you have 3D and 2D. And then some of them are good for other types of data. So these stack charts are good when you have a couple different types of data. That's not what we have here. We'll just choose this first one here, and just that easy, Excel takes our data and our numbers and our labels and turns it into a chart. And it's pretty smart about doing so. You can see we have a heading up here, First Quarter January, that it took from this cell. Then we've got our salespeople's names down here, and lines showing each of the car sales that they had.
Right now this is floating over our data and we can move it to a new place just by dragging it. Or we can resize it, or we could do a couple of things to it and often you might want to keep your chart on the same Worksheet as your, as your data. Look at them both at once. You might be able to print them out on the same page depending on how much space each of them take up. You can stretch the chart by just dragging on a corner and get a little bit better view of the data.
The other thing you can do that is often helpful is to move the chart to a tab of it's own and I'm going to do that now. Right-click on this, move down here and choose Move Chart and I'm going to move the chart to a new sheet so I'll click that button and we can give it a new name. We can say sales January, okay. Now you see we have a sale January tab. Here's our chart, where we get a view of it all by self and it tells the story pretty well when it's just by itself. When you have your chart selected, the chart tools appears up here in the ribbon and you can see there's several different tabs related to chart tools and this first one you can change the colors and the styles and you can change the layout. One interesting thing you can do here is switch row and columns. So, if the chart didn't come out exactly the way you expected it to, if you click this button you'll get a different view where the rows and columns are swapped. So in this view, we have a bar for each individual car sold by each individual person, and that gives you a different view of your data, and maybe that's the view that you wanted.
These options change the appearance of the charts. For example, this middle one here shows numbers for each of the bars. So at the same time that you see the visualization you can see the actual number that lies under the data. Let's go back to our worksheet and build another chart. Let's take a look at the first three months of the year, this first quarter. So I'm going to do the same thing. I'll just go here and select through column E. That gets us through March. Go Insert>Column.
This time I'm going to use the Stacked Column. And we see a new chart. I'm going to go ahead and move this over to its own tab so we can get a better view. Call this sales first quarter. But now we have a new chart and you can see that it's stacking the months of the quarter together. So we see the entire quarter sales for Steve, The Tesla S.
So we see a visualization of how many cars he sold for the entire quarter as well as a month by month breakdown of the sales. And we can make the same changes up here. We could click this button and see the numbers on top of the stacked bar chart. So, that's just how easy it is to go in and take data from your worksheet and turn it into a chart or a graph. This lesson showed you how easy it is to turn the number in your worksheet into charts and graphs. You can select the data and then you go to the Insert tab to choose your chart style.
You'll want to match your chart style to the underlying data, obviously. And you can move your chart to its own tab or you can leave it displayed on the worksheet with the underlying data. And using the chart tools, you can change the layout and format of your chart.
- Understanding Excel and its user interface
- Getting started with basic tasks
- Developing your spreadsheet
- Creating more complex formulas
- Making changes to your workbook
- Visualizing your data with color, charts, and graphics
- Analyzing data
- Printing and sharing your worksheet