How to Make a Square Bubble Chart in Excel

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When you want to illustrate a document with information that shows a company growth pattern, a little-used chart called a bubble graph may be your best bet. While your business may be familiar with pie charts and bar graphs, the bubble chart brings an added dimension to helping your data jump off the page. Microsoft Excel can help you automate bubble charts, but it only permits traditional round bubbles. A quick workaround through Excel's shapes collection will help you get your new chart "squared" away.


Step 1

Launch Microsoft Excel and open the spreadsheet with the data to use for the square bubble chart. If this spreadsheet doesn't already exist, click into the cells and enter or copy and paste the data.

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Step 2

Highlight the cells, including any column or row headers, to use for the chart.


Step 3

Click the "Insert" tab, then click the "Other Charts" button on the ribbon.

Step 4

Click one of the two options under the "Bubble" section. Both are for round bubbles, but you'll adjust this later. After a moment, Excel creates the bubble chart and adds it to the spreadsheet.


Step 5

Click a corner of the chart and drag it outward, increasing the size of the chart. This is optional, but gives you more room to work with the bubbles.

Step 6

Review the legend on the right side of the chart, which tells you how many bubbles you are working with.


Step 7

Click the "Insert" tab, then click the "Shapes" button on the ribbon. Choose the rectangle shape from the drop-down menu. When the cursor changes to a plus symbol, press and hold down the "Shift" key, then drag the mouse to form the first square bubble.


Step 8

Click the "Shape Fill" menu on the "Drawing Tools" ribbon. Choose a color for the bubble. Click the "Shape Outline" button and choose the same color, giving you a solid. Click the "Shape Effects" menu on the ribbon, hover the cursor over the "Bevel" option and click the first in the menu. It's called "Circle," but it just makes your square take on a more 3D appearance, like a bubble. It remains square shaped.


Step 9

Drag the square directly over the top of one of the bubbles on the chart. If necessary, press the "Shift" key, click a corner of the square and drag to resize the square so it fits entirely over the bubble. Do not delete the bubble, as this will reformat the legend and the chart data. Just move the square over the bubble.


Step 10

Right-click the square and choose "Copy." Right-click the chart and choose "Paste," then drag the square over the corresponding item in the legend and resize as necessary.

Step 11

Right-click and choose "Paste" again. Click in the "Shape Fill" and "Shape Outline" menus and choose another color for this new bubble. Repeat the "Bevel" process, drag the square over the next bubble on the chart and resize as necessary. Copy the square to its legend listing.


Step 12

Repeat the process until you have bubble-looking squares sitting exactly over each bubble in the chart. You can overlap square bubbles if your chart bubbles overlap, just paste them in from the bottom bubble to the top.

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