How to Make Graphs in Microsoft Office

By Katelyn Kelley

A graph is a diagram used to visually represent data. Microsoft Office refers to graphs as "charts," and is capable of making many different types of charts, including line charts, bar charts, and pie charts. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel all have the ability to insert a chart in a document they create, however, it is Excel that actually takes the data and turns it into a chart for all three programs. Word and PowerPoint merely link to Excel during the process and then display the results in their own documents.

With Excel

Step 1

Open Excel. In the blank workbook that appears on the screen, enter the data for your graph in individual cells, placing the horizontal axis labels down the first column, starting with row two, and the data in the cells to the right of the labels. If your graph has more than one data series, add series labels across the tops of the columns in the first row. See the illustration for an example of the format.

Step 2

Click and drag to select all the cells that contain labels and data for the chart.

Step 3

Click the "Insert" menu, then "Chart."

Step 4

Click a chart type from the top of the screen. The illustration here shows a Line chart selected.

Step 5

Click "Sort By Columns" or "Sort by Rows" in the Excel Formatting Palette, if you want to swap the horizontal labels with the series labels.

With Word

Step 1

Open Word to a new blank document.

Step 2

Click "Insert," then "Chart" from the menu at the top of the screen.

Step 3

Click the type of chart to insert. A line graph is chosen in the illustration here. Choosing a chart type will automatically launch Excel and display a template where you enter the graph data.

Step 4

Enter your graph data into the template. The template fields correspond to the type of chart you picked.

Step 5

Quit Excel (no need to save), and the data is automatically entered into a chart in Word.

Step 6

Double-click the graph to change colors or labels.

With PowerPoint

Step 1

Open PowerPoint and type a title for your slide presentation by clicking and typing in the text placeholders on the title slide.

Step 2

Click the "New Slide" button at the top of the screen.

Step 3

Click the "Insert Chart" button in the center of the slide template body.

Step 4

Click to select a chart type from the layouts that appear at the top of the screen. Excel will automatically open.

Step 5

Click in the cells in Excel to enter your data into the chart template. The template is based on the type of chart you picked.

Step 6

Quit Excel (no need to save) and a chart based on the data you entered will be added to the slide.

Step 7

Double-click the chart if you want to change colors or other appearance attributes.