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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 21, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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. ...

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