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Excel - Charts (Graphs)

Introduction
Improve your presentation with charts
Create a chart
Personnalize a chart


Separate a point of the pie chart
Print only a chart

Introduction

Why use a chart?

+To simplify the analysis of a mass of data.
+To be able to compare the data.
+To quickly analyze the trends in data series.
+To analyze proportions among different data series.

Create a chart

This exercise consists in creating a "3D Column chart" on a new worksheet.

 

*Enter the following data in the appropriate cells.

*Select the data by using a block (continuous or non-continuous), for the exercise, from A1 to D4.

The data selection is very important. Avoid selecting empty rows or columns. They will be added to the chart and leave empty spots in your chart. Use the instructions in the Basic operations page to select only the blocks of cells that you need. Make sure that every range of cells selected represents at least a data series for the chart. Don't take single cells scattered everywhere on your worksheet.

Generally, the first row or row selected from the range of cells will be used by the chart for the description of the X axis. The content of the first column from the range of cells will be used as the description for the legend of the chart. But, Excel will be confused if the description that you need for the X axis are numbers.

*From the Insert menu, select the Chart option.
OR
*Use Excel's chart assistant by pressing the Graphic assistantbutton.
*Answer the questions that you will be shown in the next windows.

Excel: Chart Wizard step 1

The first stage consists in choosing a chart from the 14 categories that are represented in the left column. In the right part of the screen, there are subcategories to represent the same data in a different ways.

These subcategories are alike, but will give a different representation from the same data. The first row shows the data in two dimensions (2D). The second row shows these same data but in three dimensions (3D). Furthermore, the first column shows the data series the one next to another. The second column shows the data series in cumulative mode (one on top of the other). The last column shows the proportion of each of the series. Notice that each of the bars is of the same height, only the proportion of each series changes.

Before continuing, you may have a preview of the chart to make sure to have chosen the right type of chart to better to represent the data. Press the button "Press and Hold to View Sample" to have a preview of the chart. The section with the subcategories of chart will be replaced by a representation of the chart. You can try different types of charts before going any further and preview them.

*Make you have the right selection. For the exercise, select from the Column charts, the 3-D Column option.
*Press the Next button.

For the second step to create a chart has two tabs: the one to determine the range of data (Data range) and the other to look of the data series.

The Data range tab is there to make sure that you chose the right area of cells as the data series of your chart. If there is an error, you can always press the button at the end of the box to re-select the cells you need for the chart. You can determine that the data series are in columns or in rows. This means that every row or every column represent a data series on an item that you want to represent in the chart. For the purpose of this exercise, make sure that the data series are in rows and not in columns. That means that every row from the range of cells you selected will be a data series.

You also have a preview of the final chart before having finished it! You can experiment and see that will be the final result by changing the representation of the data series.

*Click on the Series tab.

Under the Series tab, you may change, add or delete data series. In the bottom to the left of the window, you have the name of each of the series. In the right-hand side, the "Name" box allows you to change the name of a series. It's that name that will appear in the legend of the chart. You can select the content of a cell of one of the worksheets of the file or you can write the text of your choice.

The "Values" box is an area of cells that contain the numbers you want to see in the chart for that data series. You can change the area at any time.

The "Category (X) axis labels" box indicates the description that will be shown on the X axis of the chart. It's still possible to you to change it. You just need to press the button at the end of the box and select the cells that you wish for the X axis. You can also write the content. You need to place a semi-colon (;) between the text For example, orders could come from "In store";"Catalogue";"Internet".

*Make your selection and press the Next button.

For the third step, there are several tabs. Each describes a characteristic of the chart.

*Click on the Titles tab.

The tab of the titles serves for writing the text that will appear to the main title of the chart as well as for the descriptions of each of the axes of the chart. For this exercise:

*In the Chart title box, write: Revenues by Categories.
*In the Category (X) axis box, write: Years.
*In the Series (Y) axis box, write: Categories.
*In the Value (Z) axis box, write (M$).

*Click on the Axes tab.

The Axes tab gives you the choice to show or to hide the data of the various axes of the chart. For the moment, leave all axis visible.

*Click on the Gridlines tab.

Gridlines help you compare items that are not close to each other. You compare them to the gridlines to see an upward or downward trend. Under this tab, you may show or hide the gridlines of the chart. For the purpose of this exercise, select the same options as the picture; just activate the major gridlines for each axis.

*Click on the Legend tab.

This tab allows you to show or not the legend of the chart. It contains the names of each series of your chart with a color representation beside it. There, more you can decide on the position of the legend.

*Select the Bottom position.

*Click on the Data Labels tab.

Under this tab, you may you to show labels and values of each of the elements of the series. You can show the value, the percentage, both or even the description of the X axis (series name). The big problem with this option is that it crowds the chart with too much information making it more difficult to read. One option is to activate the label you want but move them on the side of the bar instead of over the top of each bar. It gives more information without blocking the view on the trends or the proportions of the chart.

*For this exercise, do not activate any options.
*Click on the Data Labels tab.

This is a recent addition to Excel. It's possible not only to show a chart but also the numbers themselves in a table below the chart. Select the Show the data table option to have a preview of the result. However, for the needs of the exercise, don't show the data table. It will be shown how to show this table, and how to personalize the chart farther on this page.

*For this exercise, do not activate the Data table.
*Press the Next button.

The chart assistant will ask you a last question. Do you want this chart in a worksheet that has numbers or on a new chart sheet? You can also give a name to this new working sheet.

*For this exercise, select a new chart sheet that will be called Chart1.

*Press the Finish button.

Excel will show you the finished chart with the options you selected.

Personalize the chart

Even if you finished the chart, it's always possible to personalize it better to answer your needs. The next part consists in showing to you some of its options and how to apply them.

The first stage consists in widening the space that's assigned to the chart.

*Click on the chart only to select the part that's reserved for the chart.
*Select one of the squares dimension square on the border of the chart.
*Press the left mouse button and move the dimension square to the outside of the area reserved for the chart.

You can, by selecting an object, that it's the chart, the title, the legend or quite other object that meets itself in the area of chart, to move it or to change it.

The chart changed dimensions. But, the text that meets itself on axes is still too big for the rest of the chart. To change the size of the text, there are three ways.

*Place the cursor on the X axis of the chart.
*Double-click on the axis.
OR
*Click on the X axis.
*From the Format menu, select the first option;
OR



*From the chart toolbar, select the Category axis from the list on controls on the chart.
*Press on the Properties buttonButton of the properties.

The window with the properties of the axis will appear

*Change the size of the text to 10 points.
*Repeat the operation for the "Y" and "Z" axis.

It may be necessary to enlarge the size of the font for the title of the chart.

*Double-click on the title of the chart.
*Select all the text of the title.
*Change the size of the text.

The result should look like the picture below.

This looks like a chart that you can put in a report or a document for a customer or even to your boss. But you can even better. Excel offers several other options to improve the presentation of a chart.

Changing options

To change an option of one of the objects in the chart, you can click on it and choose from the Format menu the first option. You can also double clickk on the object that you want to change. Another way is to click the object and to press Properties button on the Chart toolbar. Another option you can use is by placing the cursor over the object and pressing on the right mouse button. A list of the options most often used will appear. It is also called a context menu.

Here is the short list of what you can make to change in the chart: move objects, change their size, the color and the orientation of the text, change the color, the pattern and the order of the series, insert some free text, drawings, arrows, the square or any item from the Draw toolbar, etc. You can access all the options by using the mouse or the main menu.

To stop changing options of the chart, click outside of the frame of the chart. If you generated your chart on another worksheet, click the tab to another worksheet.

Change the legend's text

It's also possible for you to change the text that's in the legend. Here is the legend before the change.

*From the Chart menu, select the Source data option.
*Click on the Data Range tab.

Under this tab, you can change the area of the data and change the data series of rows in columns or vice versa.

*Click on the Series tab.

Under this tab, you can add or remove data series to the chart. It's also possible to change the name of a data series that appears in the legend, to change the range where the values are located and the description for the X axis of the chart. This exercise consists in changing the name that seems to the legend for the series "Other".

*From the Series section, select the Other option .

The data about the series will appear in the boxes to the right of the window.

*Click in the Name box.

You can write of the text or write the name of the cell that will be the description of the legend.

*Write Small items.
*Press the OK button.

Here is the legend after the change.

Change the legend's placement or position

There are three ways to change the place: by using an option of the format menu or the properties of the chart or manually by using the mouse.

*Click on the legend.
*From the Format menu, select the first option: selected legend.
OR
*From the Chart toolbar, select Legend from the list.
*Press the button of the properties.

*Click on the Position tab.
*Select the new location for the legend in the chart.

You can also move the legend by using the mouse.

*Click on the legend
*Place the cursor inside the legend box.
*Press the left mouse button and move the box down to the bottom of the chart.

You can later change the size of the chart to take advantage of the space freed by the legend.

*Click on the chart.

A border with squares should appear around the chart. Otherwise, re-select.

*Place the cursor on the square of the middle right border of the chart.
*Press the left mouse button and move the square to the right-hand side of the screen.
*Release the mouse button.

You can so in this way by using the other squares to change the size of the chart.

Change the size, the color and the orientation of the text

You may change these options for all the boxes of text including the one on the axes.

*Click on the main title.
*From the Format menu, select the first option: selected title.
OR
*Double-click on the main title.

*Select the Font tab.
*Change the options of size and color in your choice.

The next example consists in changing the orientation of the text of one of axes...

*Double-click on one of the axes.
OR
*Click one of the axes of the chart.
*From the Format menu, select the first option: selected axis.

*Click on the Position tab.
*Change the vertical orientation of the text.
*Press the OK button.

Change the color and the shade of bars

To highlight a data series, you may change its color as well as its pattern. Furthermore, if you think of printing on a printer, you may need to change the pattern for each of the series. Otherwise, the bars of the chart are all going to look the same. For example, a data series of the red color will be printed with the same tone of grey as the one that's blue. Both will be printed grey on a piece of paper. It may be better to distinguishing different data series to have a different pattern for each.

*Click on one of the data series.
*From the Format menu, select the first option: Selected Data Series.
*Click on the Patterns tab.

* Press the Fill Effects button.

There are many ways to change the pattern on the bars of a Data series. Excel regroups them under four tabs: Gradient, Texture, Pattern and Picture. The Gradient tab able you to place gradient progressive patterns on the bars. The Texture tabs able you to place "natural" pattern from marble, wood and fabrics. The Pattern tab offers different types of stripes, rows and other regular patterns. The Picture tab offers you the possibility to apply an picture of your choice inside the Data series bar. Look at all the options and select the one that you need.

*Change the color and the pattern for the Data series.
*Select the Shape tab.

Not only can you change the patterns on the bars of the chart, you can also change the forms. You can choose from regular boxes to pyramids, cylinders and cones. Please take note that the only fill effects available for cylinders and cones are patterns, no gradient, texture or pictures for them.

*Select the Pyramid type.
*Press the OK button.

Change the series' order

From time to time, a data series is hidden by the others. Or you may wish to move a data series ahead of another. It's possible for you to change the order of the data series to avoid this situation.

*Click on the series that you want to change the place in the chart.
*From the Format menu, select the first option Selected Data Series.
*Click on the Series order tab.

*Select the series of your choice from the left column.
*Press the "Move up" or "Move down" button according to your choice.
*Once finished, press the OK button.

The more the data series is up on the list, the more toward the front of the chart it will be. Here is the result according to the order of the previous picture.


*Replace the series in its original location in the chart.

The data labels

You can show the value of the bar or the description of the axis of the various data series.

*Click on the first data series.
*From the menu Format, select the first option: selected data series.
*Click on the Data labels tab.
*Press the radio button next to the Show value option.
*Press the OK button.

The values that represent bars will appear above these. You can then move them towards your choice. This option shows you the values of a series at the same moment. It's possible to show the labels of all the series.

*From the Chart menu, select the Chart Options option.
*Select the Data labels tab.
*Select the Show values option.
*Press the OK button.

The values of the series appear above bars. You can move them afterward and change their format.

*Remove all labels.

Insert an pictures

It's also possible to add pictures such as the company logo or another picture suited for the chart.

*From the Insert menu, select the Image option.

Excel offers you several sources for the picture. It can be from Office's library, the Internet, a file that you have or a WordArt text picture.

*Select the From a file option.
*Select the right drive (Hard disk, CD, diskette ...) and the right folder.
*Click on the name of the file.
*Press the OK button.

To move the picture.

*Place the cursor inside the picture.
*Press the left mouse button, keep pressing it and move the picture in its new location.

To change the size of the picture.

*Click on the picture.

A border with squares will appear around the picture.

*Place the cursor on one of the square of your choice.
*Press the left mouse button and move the square to enlarge or reduce the size of the picture.

To keep the picture size proportional, also keep a finger on the Shift key.

Insert free text

Apart from the main title and the axes titles, it's also possible to add text to the chart to add comments.

*Click on the formula toolbar.
* Write Spectacular increase! and press the Enter key or the button with the green checkmark.

The text will appear in the chart. To move the text box.

*Place the cursor inside the text box.
*Press the left mouse button and move the text box in the right-hand side of the chart.

You can then change the format of the text such as its size, its color and its orientation. Simply select the text and to choose the first option from the Format menu or double clickk on the text.

Insert an arrow

Not only can you add text but also any object from the Draw toolbar. The next exercise consists in adding an arrow to the chart to better explain a point. It's also possible to add square, circles and several other objects. Before, continuing the Draw toolbar must be activated.

*From the View menu, select the Toolbars.
*Activate the Drawing toolbar by placing.

To move the Drawing toolbar.

*Place the cursor on the titles bar of the toolbar.
*Press the left mouse button, keep pressing it and move the bar completely to the bottom of the screen.
*Release the mouse button.

To insert an arrow.

*Click on the button arrows.
* Place the just cursor below the text "Spectacular increase!"
*Press the left mouse button and move the cursor up to the third bar of the first data series.
*Release the mouse button.

Add a series of numbers

Your are now asked to add a data series that includes the exports of the company.

*Add this last data series of numbers to your model.

New series: A4: Export, B4: 5 , C4: 10 , D4: 20

In fact, it would have been able to place these data wherever on the worksheet. It's only the most logical place to place them. There are two ways to insert them: by using the options of for chart or simply to "drag" the range over the chart. The next part consists in adding a data series by using the options for charts.

*Click on the chart.
*From the Chart menu, select the Source Data option.
*Click on the Series tab.
*Press the Add button.

You'll have to enter some data in the Name and Values boxes so that the new Data series shows up on the chart.

*Click in the Name box.
*Write in the Exports box.
OR
*Press the Button selectionbutton at the end of the box.
*Select the cell containing the text Exports.
*Press the button at the end of the window.

*Click in the Values box.
*Press the Button selectionbutton at the end of the box.
*( 5 , 10 , 20) select the data series for the exports (B5 to D5).
*Press the button at the end of the window.

*Because labels for the X axis are the same than for the previous series, you don't need to change the data.

*Press the OK button.

A new data series was added to the chart. This series is however in the back of the chart. It's hidden by all the others. You can change the order of presentation of the series that was explained earlier on this page.

The other way of adding a data series to the chart is to select the range of values and the title (A5 to D5) and to slide it over the chart. However, this option works only if the data and the chart are on the same worksheet. This is impossible for the exercise of this page. The procedure is very simple.

*Select the area of data including the title.
*Press the left mouse button and move the selection over the chart.

Once over the chart, the cursor should change and show a "+" sign next to the cursor.

*Release the mouse button.

The selected series will appear on the chart.

Insert a second Y axis

Excel makes possible the addition of a second Y axis on the right-hand side of the chart. This allows you to compare values of different proportions. For example, it would be very difficult to compare millions of units sold to the percentage of market shares. This option is only available for charts with two dimensions (2D). Before demonstrating you this option, it will so be necessary to change type of chart.

*Remove the ''Spectacular increase'' text and the arrow.

*From the Chart menu, select the Type of chart option.

*Select the type of chart according to the picture above.
*Press the OK button.

For this exercise, we will presume that the data series Exports needs to be on a second axis.

*Select the series Exports by clicking one of the bars of the series.

Be careful!
All the bars of the series should be selected. Otherwise, click somewhere else the chart and select once again the Exports series.

*From the Format menu, select the option Selected Data Series.
OR
*Double-click on the series.
OR
*From the chart toolbar, select the item Series "Exports".
*Press then on the button.

*Select the Selected Data Series tab.

*Activate the Secondary Axis option.

Excel offers you a preview of the chart. You can change this option or the others concerning the data series.

*Press the OK button.

The Export data series is now visible beside the other date series of the chart. It has its own Y axis on the right-hand side of the chart.

To be able to better compare the data series Exports of the others, it would be preferable to change the type of chart for it. It will be changed the type of Line chart.

*Select the Exports series with one of the techniques mentioned above.

*Select the type of chart for only this Data series by selecting a Line with markers for the type of chart.
*Press the OK button.

Here is the chart under its final format. It's now easier to distinguish the series and to compare them. There was also another way of changing the type of chart for one or all the data series. But you can't mix 2D with 3D charts or some types of chart with others.

*Select the data series or the chart in its entirety according to your needs.

*From the Chart toolbar, select the type of chart of your choice.

There are some types of predefined charts having two axes.

*From the Chart menu, select the Type of chart option.
*Select the Custom Types tab.

Of the list of the types of charts, there are two that have two axes: Line - Column on 2 axes and Rows on 2 Axes.

*Press the Cancel button.

"Explode" a part of a pie chart

The "Pie" charts are mostly used to demonstrate proportions or shares. But you may wish to highlight a point of the pie to put it more interest on it. Before being able to "explode" a point, you must create a pie chart.

*Enter the following data in a worksheet.

*Make a block with the range of data.
*Press the chart button .
*From the list of chart types, select Pie.
*Select the Pie with a 3-D visual effect option (second option).
*Press the Next button twice.
*Press the Legend tab.
*Unselect the View the legend option.
*Press the End button.

The "3-D Pie chart" will appear in the frame that you created. Otherwise, begin again the steps above.

*Click on the pie.
*Click on one of the parts of the pie.
*Place the cursor inside that part.

*Press the left mouse button, keep pressing it, and move the part towards the outside of the pie.
*Release the mouse button when you'll have moved the part to the new location of your choice.

It's as easy as pie to split a pie chart! Sorry! I couldn't resist the pun.

Print only a chart

It's always possible to you to print the chart alone on a page even if it's next to numbers and to formulas.

*Click on the chart you wish to print.

All the options of the menus will fit to give the possibilities of the chart; including the printing. If you don't click the chart, the page setup and printing will show you the chart and the numbers of the worksheet instead of only the chart.
*To have a print preview of your chart, press the Aper`cu before impression(printing) button.
OR
*From the File menu, select the Print Preview option.

You can use the same page setup and printing options as you set for the printing of the worksheets. Make sure to always preview before the printing. If you want to print just the chart, trust the preview of the chart. Although the chart seems correct with your data, it's the print preview that gives the best representation on to paper.

*Press the Setup button.

They are the options of pagination for the chart. They are almost identical to those for the pagination for the file with the exception of the last tab: chart.

*Click on the Chart tab.

The chart size option allows you to determine the size that it will take on paper. The "Use full page" option ajust the chart to take advantage of the whole page. The option "Scale to fit page" takes just advantage of the width of the page. The "Custom" option keeps the chart the same size as on the worksheet.

The print quality options allow you some control over the chart's printing. The "Draft quality" option is faster and uses less ink or toner. The "Print in black and white" option is for dot matrix printers. This helps to make the distinction between each of the data series of the chart.

The Options... button will show you the available options of the printer. The contents of these tabs vary according to the type of printer that's available. These tabs help to :

+Determine the paper format as well as the page orientation.
+Determine the printing quality, or resolution in dot per inch (dpi), of a chart.
+Determine the way that fonts will be printed.

Because the contents vary according to the printer, it's up to you to select from the options that are offered.

 



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