How to Make a Simple X-Y Line Graph With Excel 2007

By Amy Dombrower

Microsoft Excel 2007 is a comprehensive spreadsheet program that not only stores data, but provides charts and graphs to represent the data graphically. To create an X-Y line graph, you should enter the data you want to graph and format a scatter (X-Y) plot. A scatter plot is similar to a line graph, except it is used specifically to compare pairs of values (X versus Y). You may then choose to create a smooth line to connect the data points.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Excel 2007
  • X-Y data

Step 1

Open a blank worksheet in Microsoft Excel 2007.

Step 2

In the first cell, enter “X.” Press “Tab,” and enter “Y” in the next cell over. These will be the column headings for your X and Y data.

Step 3

Enter a series of X data points in the column under “X.” It’s a good idea to simply enter regular intervals of X to make up the horizontal axis. For instance, enter all the values ranging from “-5” up to “5” to display the line across a negative and positive axis.

Step 4

Calculate the Y value that corresponds to each X value. The equation format for a line graph is Y = MX + B, where M is the slope of the line and B is the Y-intercept value. If you have a linear equation for the line, plug the X values you’ve entered into the equation to calculate the Y values. Enter each value in the Y column.

Step 5

Highlight the cells you want to graph on a chart.

Step 6

Click the “Insert” tab. In the “Charts” group, select the “Scatter” icon.

Step 7

Select “Scatter with Smooth Lines and Markers.” This will display X versus Y in a line graph that connects the data markers. The chart will display on your worksheet.

Step 8

Click the “Design” tab, which appears under “Chart Tools” when you select the chart. If you want to change the format of the chart, make a selection in “Chart Layouts” and a line style under “Chart Styles.” To format individual elements of the chart, click the “Format” tab and select the element you want to change, such as “Chart Title” or “Axes.”

Step 9

Click the “Microsoft Office Button,” and select “Save” to save the data and graph you’ve made.