Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
How Excel Handles Charts
Although Excel can produce some great charts, it certainly doesn’t generate
the best-looking charts possible. And, you’ll eventually encounter some
limitations with Excel’s charting features. Not surprisingly, other software
products that are devoted exclusively to charting can generate higher-quality
charts and provide a great deal more flexibility. Refer to other resources.htm,
found in the Bonus Material folder on the CD-ROM, for a list of other charting
software that’s available.
Displaying data in a well-conceived chart can make your numbers more
understandable. Because a chart presents a picture, charts are particularly useful for
summarizing a series of numbers and their interrelationships. Making a chart can often
help you spot trends and patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Figure 1-1 shows a worksheet that contains a simple column chart that depicts a
company’s sales volume by month. Viewing the chart makes it very apparent that
sales were off in the summer months (June through August), but they increased
steadily during the final three months of the year. You could, of course, arrive at
this same conclusion simply by studying the numbers. But viewing the chart makes
the point much more quickly.
A column chart is just one of many different types of charts that you can create
with Excel.
Figure 1-1: A simple column chart depicts the monthly sales volume.
How Excel Handles Charts
Before you can create a chart, you must have some numbers — sometimes known as
data. The data, of course, is stored in the cells in a worksheet. Normally, the data that
is used by a chart resides in a single worksheet, but that’s not a strict requirement.
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