How to Create a Line Graph in MS Excel

By Tamara Runzel

Presenting information in a line graph makes the information clearer and easier to read. A graph can also help visually show any trends with your data. Microsoft Excel, versions 2007 and 2010, allow you to convert any data in a worksheet into a graph. You can use a premade graph and customize it for your information and presentation.

Create Graph

Step 1

Open Excel and enter your information onto a worksheet. For a line graph, you can arrange the data in rows or columns. For example, if you are showing the monthly average temperatures for a location, you could head each column with the month and each row could represent a different year.

Step 2

Click on the first cell you want included in your line graph and while holding down the mouse button, drag your mouse to highlight the rest of the data you want on your graph.

Step 3

Click on the "Insert" tab and select "Line" from the "Chart" options. The picture shows a line graph. Choose and click on the chart subtype you want from the pictures. If you move your mouse over each subtype, it gives you a description of the graph.

Step 4

Move the chart to the desired location on your worksheet by clicking on it and dragging when you see the four-way arrow.

Step 5

Adjust the size of the chart by moving each side, and the top and bottom in or out with your mouse.

Step 6

Click on the chart so that your chart formatting tool options, "Design," "Layout" and "Format" appear in your ribbon choices at the top.

Step 7

Select "Layout" from your ribbon and set your format preferences. Click on the arrow by each heading such as "Chart Title," "Axis Titles," "Axes," "Plot Area" and "Gridlines" to see preformatted choices.

Step 8

Look at the options and click on the choices you want for your layout.

Step 9

Choose "Design" from your ribbon options to adjust the chart layout or style. If you choose a layout you don't like, you can click another one and it will automatically change. You can switch the row and column information if Excel is laid it out differently than you wanted.

Step 10

Go to "Format" to change the format of any of the elements you added. Click the arrow in the "Chart Elements" box and choose the element you want to format. You can change the color, size or appearance of that element now.

Step 11

Double-click on the different elements in your chart and type in the information you want for your chart. For example, click twice on "Chart Title" and highlight the words. Type in "Average Temperatures" or your desired title. Do the same for the axis titles and any other elements you added.

Separate Chart

Step 1

Click on the chart if you want to move it to a separate worksheet or have it appear on a new worksheet. It automatically appears as an embedded chart on the current worksheet.

Step 2

Select the "Design" tab and then choose "Move Chart."

Step 3

Click "New Sheet" or "Object in" and choose the worksheet where you want the chart to appear.