Charts and Graphs

What is a Chart or Graph? and How to Use Them in Excel and Google Spreadsheets?


Charts are what we call graphs in math class.

Charts are visual representations of worksheet data. Charts often makes it easier to understand the data in a worksheet because users can easily pick out patterns and trends illustrated in the chart that are otherwise difficult to see.

Different types of charts serve different purposes.

Pie Charts -- are used to show percentages. For example, a pie chart could be used to show what percentage of your total daily calorie intake is represented by one quadruple cheese and bacon hamburger.

Column Charts -- also known as bar graphs - are used to show comparisons between items of data. Each column in the chart represents a different data value. An example of this would be to use different colored columns to compare the calories in a quadruple cheese and bacon hamburger with the calories in a bowl of beet greens.

Pictograph - or pictogram - is a column chart that uses pictures to represent the data instead of the standard colored columns. So a pictograph could use hundreds or even thousands of hamburger images stacked one on top of the other to show how many calories one quadruple cheese and bacon hamburger contains compared to a very small stack of images for beet greens.

Bar Charts -- are column charts that have fallen over on their side - possibly because they feel sick after eating quadruple cheese and bacon hamburgers for lunch and can no longer stand upright. But, what ever the cause, the bars or columns run horizontally along the page rather than vertically.

The axes change as well - the Y axis is the horizontal axis along the bottom of the chart, and the X axis runs vertically up the left side.

Line Charts -- or line graphs - are used to show trends over time. Each line in the graph shows the changes in the value of one item of data. For example you could show changes in your weight over a period of months as a result of eating a quadruple cheese and bacon hamburger every day for lunch.

Combo Charts -- combine two different types of charts into one display. Typical the two charts are a line graph and a column chart, and to accomplish this, Excel makes use of a third axis - called the secondary Y axis - that runs up the right hand side of the chart.

Stock Market Charts -- show information about stocks or shares - such as their opening and closing prices and the volume of shares traded during a certain period of time. There are different types of stock charts available in Excel - each showing different information.