Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 6: Working with Chart Series
When creating a chart, a key consideration is the orientation of your data: by rows or by columns. In
other words, is the data for each series in a single row or in a single column?
Excel attempts to guess the data orientation by applying a simple rule: If the data rows outnumber
the data columns, each series is assumed to occupy a column. If the number of data columns is
greater than or equal to the number of data rows, each series is assumed to occupy a row. In other
words, Excel always defaults to a chart that has more category labels than series.
After you create the chart, it’s a simple matter to override Excel’s orientation guess. Just activate the
chart and choose Chart Tools ➜ Design ➜ Data ➜ Switch Row/Column.
Your choice of orientation determines how many series the chart has, and it affects the appearance
and (possibly) the legibility of your chart. Figure 6-1 shows two charts that use the same data. The
chart on the left displays three series, arranged in columns. The chart on the right shows four series,
arranged in rows.
Figure 6-1: Your choice of data orientation (by row or by column) determines the number of series in the chart.
In many situations, you may find it necessary to modify the ranges used by a chart. Specifically, you
may want to do the following:
➤ Add a new series to the chart.
➤ Delete a series from the chart.
➤ Extend the range used by a series (show more data).
➤ Contract the range used by a series (show less data).
➤ Add or modify the series names.
All these topics are covered in the following sections.
Chart types vary in the number of series that they can use. All charts are limited to a
maximum of 255 series. Other charts require a minimum number of series. For example,
a high-low-close stock chart requires three series. A pie chart can use only one series.