Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
How Excel Handles Charts
years, their quality and flexibility improved significantly. You’ll find that Excel provides you with the
tools to create a wide variety of highly customizable charts that can help you effectively communicate
your message.
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 5-1 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 four 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.
Figure 5-1: A simple column chart depicts the sales volume for each month.
A column chart is just one of many different types of charts that you can create with Excel. By the
way, creating this chart is simple: Select the data in A1:B13 and press Alt+F1.
All the charts pictured in this chapter are available at
in a workbook file named Chapter 5 Samples.xlsx .
On the Web
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. A chart can use data that’s stored in any number
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