How to Make a Graph on Excel With X & Y Coordinates

By Shawn McClain

Most graphs in Excel 2010 use a numerical vertical axis and a categorical horizontal axis, which can make it difficult if you are trying to plot a series of coordinates. To correctly plot X and Y coordinates, you'll have to first set up your data correctly on the spreadsheet and then use a scatter chart. Scatter charts are the only graphs in Excel that allow you to specify a numerical horizontal axis.

Step 1

Open a new Microsoft Excel 2010 worksheet. Click on cell "A1" and type in the header for your first series of data. This series will wind up on the horizontal, or "X," axis.

Step 2

Click on cell "B1" and enter the header for your second series of data. This series will be plotted on the vertical, or "Y," axis.

Step 3

Select cell "A2" and enter the first value you want to plot. Then select cell "B2" and enter the corresponding coordinate. Continue entering your coordinates down the columns until you have entered all your data.

Step 4

Click on any cell in the data field you have just created. Click "Insert" at the top of the Excel window, and then click the "Scatter" button in the Charts area on the ribbon.

Step 5

Click on one of the five scatter chart types that appear in the pop-up menu. You can choose to plot just the markers for the data points, straight lines between the points, curved lines between the points, or either of the types of lines and the markers at the same time. Click on a scatter chart type and your graph will appear on the spreadsheet.