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Microsoft Excel - Chart Basics

This article contains information on how to create and/or modify a chart in Microsoft Excel.

Create a chart

Image of Excel Recommended Chart selection

  1. Select data for the chart.
  2. Select Insert > Recommended Charts.
  3. Select a chart on the Recommended Charts tab, to preview the chart. Note: You can select the data you want in the chart and press ALT + F1 to create a chart immediately, but it might not be the best chart for the data. If you don’t see a chart you like, select the All Charts tab to see all chart types.
  4. Select a chart.
  5. Select OK.

Add a trendline

Image of excel trendline selection

  1. Select a chart.
  2. Select Design > Add Chart Element.
  3. Select Trendline and then select the type of trendline you want, such as Linear, Exponential, Linear Forecast, or Moving Average.

Add or remove a chart title

Add a chart title

Image of excel add or remove chart option

  1. In the chart, select the Chart Title box and type in a title.
  2. Select the + sign to the top-right of the chart.
  3. Select the arrow next to Chart Title.
  4. Select Centered Overlay to lay the title over the chart, or More Options for additional choices.
  5. Right-click the chart title to format it with options like Fill or Outline.

Remove a chart title

Image of excel remove chart title option

  1. Click on the chart.
  2. Select the + sign to the top-right of the chart.
  3. Uncheck the checkbox next to Chart Title.

Show or hide a chart legend or data table

Show a chart legend

  1. Select a chart and then select the plus sign to the top right.
  2. Point to Legend and select the arrow next to it.
  3. Choose where you want the legend to appear in your chart.
  4. To hide a chart legend, select a legend to hide.
  5. Press Delete.

Show or hide a data table

  1. Select a chart and then select the plus sign to the top right.
  2. To show a data table, point to Data Table and select the arrow next to it, and then select a display option.
  3. To hide the data table, uncheck the Data Table option.

Add or remove a secondary axis in a chart 

When the numbers in a chart vary widely from data series to data series, or when you have mixed types of data (price and volume), plot one or more data series on a secondary vertical (value) axis. The scale of the secondary vertical axis shows the values for the associated data series. A secondary axis works well in a chart that shows a combination of column and line charts. You can quickly show a chart like this by changing your chart to a combo chart.

  1. Select a chart to open Chart Tools.
  2. Select Design > Change Chart Type.
  3. Select Combo > Cluster Column - Line on Secondary Axis.
  4. Select Secondary Axis for the data series you want to show.
  5. Select the drop-down arrow and choose Line.
  6. Select OK.

Add a trendline or moving average line to a chart

Add a trendline

  1. Select a chart. Select the + sign to the top right of the chart.
  2. Select Trendline. Note: Excel displays the Trendline option only if you select a chart that has more than one data series without selecting a data series.
  3. In the Add Trendline dialog box, select any data series options you want, and click OK.

Format a trendline

  1. Click anywhere in the chart.
  2. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, select the trendline option in the dropdown list.
  3. Click Format Selection.
  4. In the Format Trendline pane, select a Trendline Option to choose the trendline you want for your chart. Formatting a trendline is a statistical way to measure data: Set a value in the Forward and Backward fields to project your data into the future.

Add a moving average line

  1. Click anywhere in the chart.
  2. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, select the trendline option in the dropdown list.
  3. Click Format Selection.
  4. In the Format Trendline pane, under "Trendline Options", select Moving Average. Specify the points if necessary. Note: The number of points in a moving average trendline equals the total number of points in the series less the number that you specify for the period.

Update data in an existing chart

If you need to change data in a chart, you can do so from its source. Changes you make will instantly show up in the chart.

  1. Right-click the item you want to change and input the data--or type a new heading--and press Enter to display it in the chart.
  2. To hide a category in the chart, right-click the chart and choose Select Data.
  3. Deselect the item in the list and select OK.
  4. To display a hidden item on the chart, right-click and Select Data and re-select it in the list, then choose OK.




Keywords:microsoft excel chart graph element trendline office training   Doc ID:119421
Owner:Linda W.Group:UW Parkside
Created:2022-07-05 08:24 CSTUpdated:2022-07-06 09:13 CST
Sites:UW Parkside
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