Excel – Creating Charts

Excel comes with a built-in chart creator. This wonderful tool allows you to display your data graphically. There are two ways to create a chart in Excel 2003 by using an "instant chart" or by using the Chart Wizard.

To create a chart instantly, highlight the data table, or click and drag the data you want to display in chart form, and press F11. This shortcut will create a columnar chart.

If you would like to create a different kind of chart, you can select the data table or click and drag to highlight the data for the chart, and select the Chart Type button on the Chart toolbar. You can choose your chart type and Excel will create an embedded chart using your selected data.

If you would prefer to use the Chart Wizard to create a chart, select the data you plan to use. Omit grand totals since they will affect the scale of the chart and make it difficult to read.

Click the Chart Wizard button. You will be shown a dialogue box with the first of four steps you'll need to complete to create your chart. Select the chart type you want to use. Click Next.

In Step 2, identify whether your data is in rows or columns, and identify the data range in the field provided, if it is not already there or you want to alter the data range. The Wizard will display a sample chart to show you what your data will look like on the final product. Click Next.

In Step 3, you can add index labels, a chart title, data labels, legends and a number of other options by selecting the proper tabs in this step. Once you have set these options, click Next. (You can edit this information later via the Chart menu, if desired.)

In Step 4, choose the location of your chart. It can be embedded in the current worksheet or as a new, separate sheet. Click Finish and your chart will appear in the location you've specified.

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