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# Excel 2013: Charts

#### Lesson 22: Charts

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### Introduction

It can often be difficult to interpret Excel workbooks that contain a lot of data. Charts allow you to illustrate your workbook data graphically, which makes it easy to visualize comparisons and trends.

#### Understanding charts

Excel has several different types of charts, allowing you to choose the one that best fits your data. In order to use charts effectively, you'll need to understand how different charts are used.

Click the arrows in the slideshow below to learn more about the types of charts in Excel.

• Excel has a variety of chart types, each with its own advantages. Click the arrows to see some of the different types of charts available in Excel.

• Column charts use vertical bars to represent data. They can work with many different types of data, but they're most frequently used for comparing information.

• Line charts are ideal for showing trends. The data points are connected with lines, making it easy to see whether values are increasing or decreasing over time.

• Pie charts make it easy to compare proportions. Each value is shown as a slice of the pie, so it's easy to see which values make up the percentage of a whole.

• Bar charts work just like column charts, but they use horizontal bars instead of vertical bars.

• Area charts are similar to line charts, except the areas under the lines are filled in.

• Surface charts allow you to display data across a 3D landscape. They work best with large data sets, allowing you to see a variety of information at the same time.

In addition to chart types, you'll need to understand how to read a chart. Charts contain several different elements, or parts, that can help you interpret the data.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the different parts of a chart.

### Legend

The legend identifies which data series each color on the chart represents.

In this example, the legend identifies the different salespeople in the chart.

### Chart Title

The title should clearly describe what the chart is illustrating.

### Vertical Axis

The vertical axis (also known as the y axis) is the vertical part of the chart.

Here, the vertical axis measures the value of the columns, so it is also called the value axis. In this example, the measured value is each salesperson's net sales.

### Horizontal Axis

The horizontal axis (also known as the x axis) is the horizontal part of the chart.

Here, the horizontal axis identifies the categories in the chart. In this example, each sales quarter is placed in its own group.

### Data Series

The data series consists of the related data points in a chart.

In this example, the blue columns represent net sales by Robert Johnson. We know his data is blue because of the legend on the right.

Reading the data series, we can see that Robert was the top salesperson in quarters 1 and 3, while he was the second highest in quarters 2 and 4.

#### To insert a chart:

1. Select the cells you want to chart, including the column titles and row labels. These cells will be the source data for the chart. In our example, we'll select cells A1:F6.

Selecting cells A1:F6
2. From the Insert tab, click the desired Chart command. In our example, we'll select Column.
Clicking the Column chart command
3. Choose the desired chart type from the drop-down menu.

Choosing a chart type
4. The selected chart will be inserted in the worksheet.
The inserted chart

If you're not sure which type of chart to use, the Recommended Charts command will suggest several different charts based on the source data.

Clicking the Recommended Charts command

### Chart layout and style

After inserting a chart, there are several things you may want to change about the way your data is displayed. It's easy to edit a chart's layout and style from the Design tab.

• Excel allows you to add chart elements—such as chart titles, legends, and data labels—to make your chart easier to read. To add a chart element, click the Add Chart Element command on the Design tab, then choose the desired element from the drop-down menu.
• To edit a chart element, like a chart title, simply double-click the placeholder and begin typing.
Editing the chart title placeholder text
• If you don't want to add chart elements individually, you can use one of Excel's predefined layouts. Simply click the Quick Layout command, then choose the desired layout from the drop-down menu.

Choosing a chart layout
• Excel also includes several different chart styles, which allow you to quickly modify the look and feel of your chart. To change the chart style, select the desired style from the Chart styles group.

Choosing a new chart style

You can also use the chart formatting shortcut buttons to quickly add chart elements, change the chart style, and filter the chart data.

Chart formatting shortcuts

### Other chart options

There are many other ways to customize and organize your charts. For example, Excel allows you to rearrange a chart's data, change the chart type, and even move the chart to a different location in the workbook.

#### To switch row and column data:

Sometimes you may want to change the way charts group your data. For example, in the chart below, the Book Sales data are grouped by year, with columns for each genre. However, we could switch the rows and columns so the chart will group the data by genre, with columns for each year. In both cases, the chart contains the same data—it's just organized differently.

The data grouped by year, with columns for each genre
1. Select the chart you want to modify.
2. From the Design tab, select the Switch Row/Column command.
Clicking the Switch Rows/Columns command
3. The rows and columns will be switched. In our example, the data is now grouped by genre, with columns for each year.
The switched row and column data

#### To change the chart type:

If you find that your data isn't well suited to a certain chart, it's easy to switch to a new chart type. In our example, we'll change our chart from a Column chart to a Line chart.

1. From the Design tab, click the Change Chart Type command.
Clicking the Change Chart Type command
2. The Change Chart Type dialog box will appear. Select a new chart type and layout, then click OK. In our example, we'll choose a Line chart.

Choosing a new chart type
3. The selected chart type will appear. In our example, the line chart makes it easier to see trends in the sales data over time.

The new chart type

#### To move a chart:

Whenever you insert a new chart, it will appear as an object on the same worksheet that contains its source data. Alternatively, you can move the chart to a new worksheet to help keep your data organized.

1. Select the chart you want to move.
2. Click the Design tab, then select the Move Chart command.
Clicking the Move Chart command
3. The Move Chart dialog box will appear. Select the desired location for the chart. In our example, we'll choose to move it to a New sheet, which will create a new worksheet.
4. Click OK.
Moving the chart to a new worksheet
5. The chart will appear in the selected location. In our example, the chart now appears on a new worksheet.
The chart on its own worksheet

#### Keeping charts up to date

By default, when you add more data to your spreadsheet, the chart may not include the new data. To fix this, you can adjust the data range. Simply click the chart, and it will highlight the data range in your spreadsheet. You can then click and drag the handle in the lower-right corner to change the data range.

If you frequently add more data to your spreadsheet, it may become tedious to update the data range. Luckily, there is an easier way. Simply format your source data as a table, then create a chart based on that table. When you add more data below the table, it will automatically be included in both the table and the chart, keeping everything consistent and up to date.

Watch the video below to learn how to use tables to keep charts up to date.

### Challenge!

1. Open an existing Excel workbook. If you want, you can use our practice workbook.
2. Use worksheet data to create a chart. If you are using the example, use the cell range A1:F6 as the source data for the chart.
3. Change the chart layout. If you are using the example, select Layout 8.
4. Apply a chart style.
5. Move the chart. If you are using the example, move the chart to a new worksheet named Book Sales Data: 2008-2012.

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