How to Make a Parabola on Excel

By Robert Preston

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program included as a part of the Microsoft Office bundle of software, throughout the many iterations of Office. Excel is capable of solving equations, as well as generating graphs automatically from data provided. By combining these two functions of the program, you can quickly generate a parabolic arch graph with Excel handling all of the complex calculations. It will find multiple values that appear on the arch, then generate the arch using a built-in algorithm.

Step 1

Enter a series of x values into the cells in a column, entering multiple values on either side of the vertex. If you are unsure of the vertex, enter a wide range of x values.

Step 2

Enter an equal sign followed by the formula being graphed into a cell next to the top x value, then click on the lower right corner of the cell and drag down to the cell next to the bottom x value to copy the formula automatically. Excel will not display the formula in the cells, it will show the results.

Step 3

Highlight the values entered in both columns. If you were not sure of the vertex, find the point where the change in y reversed direction then choose cells on either side of that point. For example, if y was getting larger for five cells, then smaller for the remaining cells, the vertex is between the fifth and sixth values. The more cells chosen, the more accurate your graph will be.

Step 4

Click "Insert" from the menu, then select "Chart" to launch the chart creation wizard.

Step 5

Select "XY Scatterplot" from the wizard.

Step 6

Adjust the look of your graph to meet your desires by following through the wizard. You will be given the option to customize the labels, the colors and the grid lines of the graph, among other options.

Step 7

Click finish to create the graph.

Step 8

Click on a corner of the graph and move your mouse to adjust the size of the graph.