A chart gets your point acrossÂ â€” fast. With a chart you can transform worksheet data to show comparisons, patterns, and trends.
For example, you can show at a glance whether sales are falling or rising this quarter.
Take this course to learn the basics of how to create charts in Excel 2007.
To learn more about this course, read the text inÂ Goals andÂ About this course, or look at the table of contents. Then clickÂ Next to start the first lesson.
In Excel 2007 you can make a chart in about 10 seconds, which you’ll see how to do in just a bit.
After you create a chart, you can easily add new elements to it. For example, you can add chart titles to add more information to the chart, or change how chart elements are laid out.
In this lesson you’ll also learn how the text and numbers from a worksheet become the contents of a chart, and you’ll learn a few other chart odds and ends.
Here’s a worksheet that shows how many cases of Northwind Traders Tea were sold by each of three sales people in each of three months. You need a chart that shows how each salesperson compares against the others, month by month for the first quarter of the year.
Select the data that you want to chart, including the column titles (January, February, March) and the row labels (the salesperson names).
Then click the Insert tab, and in the Charts group, click the Column button. You could select another chart type, but column charts are commonly used to compare items and will get your point across.
After you click Column, you’ll see a number of column chart types to choose from. Click Clustered Column, the first column chart in the 2-D Column list. Â A ScreenTip displays the chart type name when you rest the pointer over any chart type. The ScreenTip also provides a description of the chart type and gives you information about when to use each one.
That’s it, you’ve created a chart in about 10 seconds.
Tip If you want to change the chart type after you create your chart, click inside the chart. On the Design tab under Chart Tools, in the Type group, click Change Chart Type, and select another chart type.
As you can see at once in this column chart, Cencini (represented by the middle column for each month) sold the most tea in January and February, but she was outdone by Giussani in March.
Data for each salesperson appears in three separate columns, one for each month. The height of each chart is proportional to the value in the cell that it represents. The chart shows you how the salespeople stack up against each other, month by month.
Each row of salesperson data has a different color in the chart. The chart legend, created from the row titles in the worksheet (the salesperson names), tells which color represents the data for each salesperson. Giussani data, for example, is the darkest blue, and is the left-most column for each month.
The column titles from the worksheet, January, February, and March, are now at the bottom of the chart. On the left side of the chart, Excel has created a scale of numbers to help you to interpret the column heights.
Tip Any changes that you make to the worksheet data after the chart is created are instantly shown in the chart.
Before you do more work with your chart, you need to know about theÂ Chart Tools.
After the chart is inserted on the worksheet, theÂ Chart Tools appear, with three tabs:Â Design,Layout, andÂ Format. On these tabs you’ll find the commands you need to work with charts.
When you complete the chart, click outside it. TheÂ Chart Tools go away. To get them back, click inside the chart. Then the tabs reappear.
So don’t worry if you don’t see all the commands you need at all times. Take the first steps either by inserting a chart (using theÂ Charts group on theÂ Insert tab) or by clicking inside an existing chart. Then the commands you need will be at hand.
You can do more with your data than create one chart. You can make your chart compare data another way by clicking a button to switch the chart view from one view to another.
The chart you created compares salespeople to each other. Excel grouped data by worksheet columns and compared worksheet rows to show how each salesperson compares against the others. This is shown in the chart on the left in the picture.
But another way to look at the data is to compare sales for each salesperson, month over month. To create this view of the chart, clickÂ Switch Row/Column in theÂ Data group on theDesign tab. In the chart on the right, data is grouped by rows and compares worksheet columns. Now the chart says something different: It shows how each salesperson did, month by month compared against themselves.
You can switch the chart back to the original view by clickingÂ Switch Row/Column again.
Tip To keep both views of the data, select the second view of the chart, copy it, and then paste it on the worksheet. Then switch back to the original view of the chart by clicking in the original chart and clickingÂ Switch Row/Column.