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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 2, 2019)

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding Information after the Endnotes

Endnotes appear at the end of the document, right? Not always, as Word provides a way that you can actually add as much ...

Discover More

Turning Off Screen Updating

When working with macros, you can often speed up processing by turning off the updating of the screen. Best news is that ...

Discover More

Inserting the User's Address

If you enter your address into Word, you can insert that address anywhere you want in a document by using a single field. ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Moving a Chart's Legend

Need to move a chart legend to a different place on the chart? It's easy to do using the mouse, as described in this tip.

Discover More

Adding Text Boxes to Charts

Need to add a text box to your charting masterpiece? There are a couple of ways you can do so.

Discover More

Putting a Chart Legend On Its Own Page

Displaying information using charts in Excel is easy and there are a variety of chart styles to choose from. Integrated ...

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 nine more than 5?

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.