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Creating a Chart

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Creating a Chart.

When you create a chart using Excel, the value within each cell that is being charted is converted to a datapoint, which is at the intersection of the X and Y axes for two-dimensional charts or the X, Y, and Z axes for three-dimensional charts. This datapoint can be expressed in any number of chart styles, including bars, columns, lines, and pie wedges.

The easiest way to create a chart is to use the Chart Wizard by following these steps:

  1. Select the data range to be charted, or select a single cell within the table you wish to chart. Don't include any summary or total information in the range. You will create the best charts when you work with raw data. You can select any headings, however.
  2. Click on the Chart Wizard tool to start the Chart Wizard. This displays the Chart Wizard dialog box, where you are asked to select a chart type.
  3. Select any of the 14 types shown in the Chart Type list. (You can always make changes later.) When you select a type, the information in the Chart Sub-type area of the dialog box is changed.
  4. Click on one of the Chart Sub-types shown at the right side of the dialog box.
  5. Click on Next. Excel proceeds to the second step of the ChartWizard, where your information is first presented as a chart.
  6. Make any necessary changes to the data range depicted in the dialog box, then click on Next. Excel displays the third step of the Chart Wizard.
  7. Using the controls in the dialog box, indicate the title, labels, and other formatting you want used for your chart. As you make changes, notice that the sample chart is updated to reflect your changes.
  8. When you are happy with your formatting settings, click on the Next button. Excel displays the final step of the ChartWizard. Here you select whether you want your chart embedded in your worksheet or to appear on its own, as a chart sheet.
  9. Click on Finish. Your chart is created as you directed.

You should note that these are general steps for using the Chart Wizard. It is possible that the steps may be modified a bit depending on the type of chart you choose to create.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2839) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Creating a Chart.

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