Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Understanding How Excel Handles Charts
FIGURE 18.1
A simple column chart depicts the monthly sales volume.
A column chart is just one of many different types of charts that you can create with Excel.
Later in this chapter, I discuss all chart types so you can make the right choice for your
data.
Understanding 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 a chart
uses resides in a single worksheet, but that’s not a strict requirement. A chart can use data
that’s stored in a different worksheet or even in a different workbook.
A chart is essentially an object that Excel creates upon request. This object consists of
one or more data series displayed graphically. The appearance of the data series depends ,
on the selected chart type For example, if you create a line chart that uses two data series, .
the chart contains two lines, each representing one data series. The data for each series is
stored in a separate row or column. Each point on the line is determined by the value in
a single cell and is represented by a marker. You can distinguish each of the lines by its
thickness, line style, color, or data markers (squares, circles, and so on).
Figure 18.2 shows a line chart that plots two data series across a 12-month period. I used
different data markers (squares versus circles) to identify the two series, as shown in the
legend at the bottom of the chart. The chart clearly shows the sales in the Western Region
are declining steadily, while Eastern Region sales are increasing a bit after remaining level
for several months.
 
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