How to Create Charts & Graphs in Excel

By Hunter Taylor

Microsoft Excel is spreadsheet software that helps users create charts and graphs. Several types of charts and graphs are readily available in Excel, such as line and bar graphs and pie charts. Line and bar graphs are useful when showing trends, while pie charts clearly display how each part contributes to a total. Excel 2007 provides an efficient way to create charts and graphs.

Step 1

Type "Month" in cell A1, and type the months January through June in cell A2 through A7. In cell B1, type "Applications." For each month, increase the "Applications" by 100. In cell B2, type "100," in cell B3 type "200" and so on. The last month in the "Month" column should be in cell A7 and the last figure in the "Applications" column should be in cell B7.

Step 2

Place the cursor on a cell in the "Month" and "Applications" data table. If the cursor is not on an item in the table, the chart will not know where to access the data. Press the "Insert" tab. Click the down arrow under the "Column" option in the "Charts" panel.

Step 3

Click "Bar" from the "Charts" section, and then select the first column chart option under "3-D Bar." To change the bar graph to a pie chart, right-click the graph itself and select "Change Chart Type." Click "Pie" in the "Change Chart Type" dialog box and select the first option under the "Pie" row, then press "OK."

Step 4

Click the border of the chart and drag it to the desired location. You can change the size of the chart by grabbing a border of the chart and dragging it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test different types of charts and graphs to understand which works best for the data. If there are drastic increases or decreases in the data, use a line graph. Change the chart type by going to the "Design" tab and clicking "Change Chart Type" on the "Type" panel.