Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Defining Chart Elements
A FEW WORDS OF CAUTION
Once you begin to get the hang of charting, don’t give in to the temptation to show off your newfound
talents by crafting charts that toss in all the cool charting effects you’ve learned. You want your charts to
be attractive, of course, and maybe even ingenious—that’s part of the charting enterprise, after all. But if
you get carried away with all the adornments Excel makes available to its charts, you run the risk of
obscuring the message you want to convey. Think of the kinds of charts you’re likely to view in
newspapers and magazines; they’re usually straightforward representations of the data—easy to
understand and right to the point. Most charts are meant to deliver information in no-frills packages, the
sorts of things you’d be prepared to place atop a boss’s desk—without fear.
Defining Chart Elements
In order to better understand how Excel charting works, let’s take a closer look at some
of charting elements (see Figure 6–2).
Figure 6–2. Basic chart elements
Table 6–1 describes these in more detail.
Table 6–1. Basic Chart Element Descriptions
Chart Element
What It Does
Vertical value (y) axis
Draws up a scale measuring the source data to be charted. In our
example, the values on the y-axis represent the span of test
scores in the source data.
Horizontal category (x) axis
Lists the variables by which the data is being plotted. In our case,
the x-axis consists of the names of the students whose grades
are being plotted.
Data series
Groups of the data being plotted. Figure 6–2 displays three data
series, each representing a subject and denoted by a different
color: blue for Soc., red for Poli. Sci., and green for Phil.
 
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