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 Charts in VBA.

Creating Charts in VBA

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 20, 2016)

Excel is very handy at creating charts from data in a worksheet. What if you want to create a chart directly from VBA, without using any data in a worksheet? You can do this by "fooling" Excel into thinking it is working with information from a worksheet, and then providing your own. The following macro illustrates this concept:

Sub MakeChart()
    'Add a new chart
    Charts.Add

    'Set the dummy data range for the chart
    ActiveChart.SetSourceData Sheets("Sheet1").Range("a1:d4"), _
      PlotBy:=xlColumns

    'Manually set the values for the data series
    ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(1).Formula = _
      "=SERIES(""First Data"",{""a"",""b"",""c"",""d""},{2,3,4,5},1)"
    ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(2).Formula = _
      "=SERIES(""Second Data"",{""a"",""b"",""c"",""d""},{6,7,8,9},2)"
    ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(3).Formula = _
      "=SERIES(""Third Data"",{""a"",""b"",""c"",""d""},{10,11,12,13},3)"
End Sub

The comments in this example explain what is going on for each step. When setting the dummy data range, the SetSourceData method assumes the range is on a worksheet named Sheet1. If you don't have such a sheet in your workbook, you need to alter the command accordingly.

Later, when manually setting the values for the data series, the SERIES command is used to specify the label for the series (First Data, Second Data, and Third Data), the array of category labels (a, b, c, and d in all series), the array of values for the series, and a number specifying which series number this represents.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2622) 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 Charts in VBA.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Cycling through Colors

If you need to easily change the font colors in a group of cells, one of the esoteric commands Excel provides is the ...

Discover More

Changing Width and Height to Inches

Want to set the width and height of a row and column by specifying a number of inches? It's not quite as straightforward ...

Discover More

Saving an Envelope for Future Use

It can take a while to get an envelope to appear just the way you need. Why throw your work away when you are done with ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Spreading Out a Table

If someone sends you a worksheet that has lots of data in it, you might want to "spread out" the data so you can have ...

Discover More

Determining the Length of a String

Macros are great for working with strings, and one of the most commonly used string functions is Len. This tip explains ...

Discover More

Setting Column Width in a Macro

Does your macro need to change the width of some columns in a worksheet? Here's how to do it.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.