Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Turning Data into a Chart
With that disclaimer out of the way, we ask you to look at the simple line chart shown in
Figure 13-1, which illustrates the most common chart elements.
Chart title
Plot area with gridlines
Legend
Chart axes (with labels) Data series
Figure 13-1 This simple line chart includes several common elements—a chart title, a legend,
and two axes.
With a little more data and a few more clicks, we could make this chart much more
complicated, although that would defeat its purpose. The following list describes the main
chart elements available to you in Excel, with specific references to the examples used in
Figure 13-1.
Data series and plot area Each series of data appears within the plot area,
represented as a line, column, bar, or pie slice, depending on the chart type. You can use a
unique color in the plot area (as in Figure 13-1) to make it stand out from the chart
background. 3-D charts have a wall, a floor, and rotation options as well.
Axes and Gridlines Column, bar, and line charts typically plot data along two axes.
Figure 13-1, for example, shows time along the horizontal axis and rainfall (measured
in inches) along the vertical axes. A depth axis is available for 3-D charts. Gridlines
help you compare the values in a data series to the values on an axis.
Titles If you choose to use a chart title, you can overlay the title on the chart itself
or allow the title to sit above the chart. In addition, you can add a title to any axis
to help explain the data plotted along that axis. Figure 13-1, for example, might be
easier to follow if the vertical axis had “Daily rainfall (inches)” as a title.
 
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