Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Charts with Multiple Series of Numbers
Practical Charting
Charts with Multiple Series of Numbers
A series is the sequence of numbers that you plot on a graph. In the simple chart
example (Figure 19-1), there’s one series of numbers, which represents the sales figures
for a company’s different regions. Of course, a real chart usually adds extra layers of
detail. You may want to compare the sales figures from several different years. In this
case, you’d add a separate column to your worksheet data for each year. Then you’d
add each column to your chart as a separate series.
It doesn’t take any extra expertise to create a chart that uses multiple series—you just
select the right range of cells, and then pick a chart option from the ribbon, just as
you would for a chart that has a single series. Different types of charts handle
multiple series in different ways. The clustered column chart creates a separate bar for
each value in a row, as shown in Figure 19-8. A line chart, on the other hand, shows
a separate line for each series (as shown in the next section).
Figure 19-8:
This chart has three series of sales figures (one for each year)
and five sets of columns (one for each region). Each of the
five sets has three bars, one for each data series. The regions
are labeled on the category axis, but you’ll need to consult the
legend to determine which year each column represents.
Tip: You can add multiple series to an existing chart without starting over from scratch. First, select the
chart to highlight the linked data. Then, click the rightmost edge, and drag it to the right to expand the
range so that it includes the new columns (which, of course, you’ve already added to your worksheet).
Controlling the Data Excel Plots on the X-Axis
Excel’s charting tool has a dirty little secret. You may not realize it right away, but
sooner or later, whether it’s your first chart or your 40th, you’ll stumble onto the fact
that Excel makes a fairly important decision for you about what data shows up in
your chart’s X-axis. Unfortunately, this decision may not be what you want.
Fortunately, you can change it.
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