How to Graph Survey Results

With today's digital-age attention spans, presentation is as important as the data itself. If you can't capture your reader's or audience's attention immediately, it's unlikely that you'll get your point across. Graphs are a simple and intuitive way to communicate data, provide a quick visual representation of your findings and make your data stand out. Microsoft Excel has several powerful and quick tools to graph your survey data, especially if you download the free Analysis Toolpack from Microsoft for extra analysis tools. Whether you have qualitative or quantitative data, Excel has the right graph for you.

Woman using computer, numbers and graph
Graphs can make your numbers easier to understand.
credit: amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images

Downloading the Analysis Toolpack

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Click on the "File" tab in Excel and then click on "Options" from the menu.

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Click on "Add-Ins" and then select "Excel Add-Ins" from the options in the Manage box.

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Click on "Go" to load the Available Add-Ins box.

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Check the box next to Analysis Toolpack and click on "Ok" to load extra analysis tools into Excel.

Histograms for Quantitative Data

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List all of your data in the first column of your worksheet. Place only one number into each cell.

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Type in your bin numbers in the second column in ascending order. Bin numbers are organizational intervals to organize your data. If, for example, your survey measures cups of coffee respondents drink per day, logical categories might be 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

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Click on "Data" at the top of Excel and select "Data Analysis" to load advanced features from the Analysis Toolpack.

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Select Histogram from the list and click on "Ok."

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Type in the cell range of your data in the Input Range box under Input. Cell ranges should be in the form A1:A50. Be sure to include all of your data in the range.

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Type in the cell range of your bin numbers in the same form as above in the Bin Range box, also under Input.

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Choose an output location under Output Options. You can create the histogram in the same sheet, in a new sheet or in an entirely new workbook.

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Check any additional format options you would like from the window and click on "Ok" to create the histogram.

Pie Charts for Qualitative Data

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Type your numerical data into a row or column in an Excel worksheet. If, for example, you're measuring attitudes toward a political initiative and the options are "I feel positively," "I feel negatively" and "I'm unsure," your numerical data would be the number of respondents that answered each. You would list all three values horizontally or vertically.

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Highlight the data you just entered.

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Click on "Insert" on the top of Excel and then click on "Insert Pie or Doughnut Chart" to load chart options.

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Select the format of pie chart you want to load it into your worksheet.

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Click on the chart in your worksheet and use the icons to the right to add formatting touches. Click on the icon with a plus sign to label your data slices and give the chart a title.