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: Smoothing Out Data Series.

Smoothing Out Data Series

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 14, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


When you are creating line charts in Excel, the lines drawn between data points tend to be very straight. (This makes sense; the lines are meant to connect the points.) You can give your graphs a more professional look by simply smoothing out the curves Excel uses at each data point. Follow these steps:

  1. In your chart, right-click on the data series that you want to smooth. Excel displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Format Data Series from the Context menu. Excel displays the Format Data Series dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Patterns tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Patterns tab of the Format Data Series dialog box.

  5. Select the Smoothed Line check box. (If the check box is not visible, it means you are not working with a line chart. Only lines in a line chart can be smoothed.)
  6. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3194) 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: Smoothing Out Data Series.

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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