Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Scatter Charts and Line Charts
FIGURE 6.13 Formatting a Series
Scatter Charts and Line Charts
Scatter charts and line charts are very similar, especially when you create a scatter
chart with lines connecting the points
these charts look and feel like a line chart.
However, there is a fundamental difference between them.
Scatter charts are used to display and compare numeric values, such as statistical
data. These charts are helpful to show the relationships among the numeric values of
several data series. You can plot two groups of numbers as one series of XY
coordinates.
Line charts are used to display continuous data over time against a common
scale. They are good for showing trends in data at equal intervals. In line charts
categorical data is distributed evenly along the horizontal X-axis, and values are
distributed evenly along the Y-axis.
Choose between the two options using this rule: use line charts if the data has
nonnumeric X values
and use scatter charts for numeric X values. The following
example will clarify the fundamental difference.
On the sheet named Line vs. Scatter of the Excel Chapter 6 file, I selected sales
data from 1990 to 2008. I created a line chart and a scatter chart for the same data.
The line chart in Figure 6.14 distorts the data since the years, on the X-axis, are not
displayed proportionally. Look at the X-axis values: The years
labels are spaced
evenly, even though the data (the difference between the periods) is unequal. They are
not spaced proportionately.
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