Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 18: Getting Started Making Charts
Getting Started Making Charts
Charting overview
Seeing how Excel handles charts
Comparing embedded charts and chart sheets
Identifying the parts of a chart
Seeing some chart examples
When most people think of Excel, they think of crunching rows and columns of numbers. But
as you probably know already, Excel is no slouch when it comes to presenting data
visually in the form of charts. In fact, Excel is probably the most commonly used software in
the world for creating charts. This chapter presents an introductory overview of Excel’s charting
What Is a Chart?
A chart is a visual representation of numeric values. Charts (also known as graphs ) have been an
integral part of spreadsheets since the early days of Lotus 1-2-3. Charts generated by early
spreadsheet products were quite crude, but they’ve improved signifi cantly over the years. Excel provides
you with the tools to create a wide variety of highly customizable professional-quality charts.
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 may
otherwise go unnoticed. If you’re unfamiliar with the elements of a chart, see the sidebar later in this
chapter, “Parts of a Chart.”
Figure 18.1 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 down in the summer
months (June through August), but they increased steadily during the fi nail 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.
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