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Creating Charts

It is quite easy to create an effective chart so long as your data has been arranged logically.  The spreadsheet below shows the monthly rainfall in the year 2000.

The data can also be arranged in columns, Excel will still be able to plot a chart:

If we highlight this data and then click on the Chart icon the Chart Wizard window will appear to help us create a chart.

The Chart Wizard is shown below and the first step is to choose the type of chart we would like, we will select a Line graph, after you have selected a main type of chart on the left you can choose a sub-type from the right side of the window, we have selected the one with no markers.

If you click on the Custom Types tab you can choose from a further selection of pre-defined chart types such as charts using a combination of lines and columns as shown below . Don’t worry if you can’t see the combination you want, you can always change the chart type for a series later if necessary.

Click the Next button and you will see a sample of your chart and the data range that is being used as shown below.

If you have highlighted your data before clicking the Chart icon you should not need to change these settings. However, if Excel has not correctly interpreted whether your data is laid out in rows or columns you may need to move the bullet by the Series in section to change to columns or rows depending on how your data is laid out.  If you click on the Series tab at this stage you can enter a name for your series if Excel has not picked one up from column headings as shown below. You can click on the red icon at the right hand end of the Name box and then go to your spreadsheet to select a cell containing the value or you can type some text in yourself.

Click the Next button and you will see the window shown below where you can set up some labels for the title and axes of your chart if Excel has not already picked them up from column or row headings.

The other sections of this window can be used to set up how your graph is laid out, e.g. whether it has gridlines, legend, etc.  Click on the tab in the diagram above to see information on these settings.

When you have set the options you require at Step 3 of the wizard you can click the Next button and choose whether your chart is to be placed on the existing worksheet or in a new worksheet of its own. If you don’t want to clutter your data it is probably a good idea to place it in its own sheet as shown below .

If you are not happy with your chart, the easiest way to modify it is to click on the chart to display the handles around the outside and then click on the Chart Wizard icon, this will run the Chart Wizard again but your previously entered values will already be completed and you can make any amendments you require.

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