How to Create a Chart in Microsoft Excel

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Input the Data

This step-by-step guide will show you how to create a chart using Microsoft Excel.

There are six easy steps. You may jump from step to step by selecting from the list below.

Getting Started

In this tutorial, we begin with the assumption that you have collected statistics or numbers (data) that you will use to support your research thesis. You will enhance your research paper by making a chart or graph to provide a visual representation of your findings. You can do this with Microsoft Excel or any similar spreadsheet program. It may help to begin by looking over this list of terms used in this type of program.

Your goal is to show patterns or relationships that you have discovered. To generate your chart, you will need to begin by putting your numbers in the boxes as shown in the image above. 

In the example, a student has surveyed the students in his home room to determine each student's favorite homework subject. Across the top row, the student has input the topics. In the row below he has inserted his numbers (data).

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Open Chart Wizard

Highlight the boxes that contain your informtion.

Go to the icon for the Chart Wizard which appears at the top and center of your screen. The icon (the small chart) is shown in the image above.

The Chart Wizard box will open when you click the icon.

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Select Chart Type

The Chart Wizard will ask you to select a chart type. You have several types of charts to choose from.

There is a preview button at the bottom of the Wizard Window. Click on several chart types to decide which one works best for your data. Go to NEXT.

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Rows or Columns?

The Wizard will prompt you to select either rows or columns.

In our example, the data was put into rows (left to right boxes).

If we had put our data in a column (up and down boxes) we would select "columns."

Select "rows" and go to NEXT.

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Add Titles and Labels

Now you will have the opportunity to add text to your chart. If you want a title to appear, choose the tab marked TITLES.

Type your title. Don't worry if you are unsure at this point. You can always go back and edit anything you do at a later time.

If you want your subject names to appear on your chart, select the tab marked DATA LABELS. You can also edit these later if you need to clarify or adjust them.

You can check and uncheck the boxes to see previews of how your choices will affect your chart's appearance. Simply decide what looks best to you. Go to NEXT.

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You Have a Chart!

You can continue to go backward and forward in the Wizard until you get the chart just the way you want it. You can adjust the color, the text, or even they type of chart or graph you want to display.

When you are happy with the chart's appearance, select FINSIH.

The chart will appear on the Excel page. Highlight the chart to print it out.

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Your Citation
Fleming, Grace. "How to Create a Chart in Microsoft Excel." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Fleming, Grace. (2020, August 27). How to Create a Chart in Microsoft Excel. Retrieved from Fleming, Grace. "How to Create a Chart in Microsoft Excel." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 25, 2021).