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How to Use Charts in MS Excel - Step By Step Guide

Microsoft Excel has many uses and it is considered by many as the most important program in the Microsoft Office suit. It is a very powerful application for creating and editing spreadsheets, but you can also use it for other purposes: for example, it has a very powerful chart-generating module, an element many people search and need. Because it is included in the Office suit, Excel is a very intuitive program, although it holds many secrets and useful tools.

Using charts in Microsoft Excel is a very important feature of this application as you can use charts to present data that has been entered in the worksheet in a visual way. Microsoft Excel has a full range of chart types it can generate. One thing you should know is that before you can use Excel’s chart generating module you must have entered the data into the worksheet. Generating intuitive and easy to read charts is fairly easy in Microsoft Excel and the program has a wizard to assist you.

Step 1

After all the data has been introduced in the worksheet you can star the chart wizard and go through its steps towards generating the result. You need to highlight the cells that you want to include in the chart. Do not forget to also include the cell’s headers. Next start the wizard by clicking the Chart Wizard button (you will find it in the program’s toolbar and it represents three small vertical graphs).

Step 2

By doing this you will have opened the Chart Wizard. From the wizard’s first page you can select the desired chart type and the Chart subtype. As you can see, Microsoft Excel has many chart types for you to choose from: column, bar, line, pie, XY, area, doughnut, radar, surface and many more. Most of these chart types has several chart subtypes (for example if you choose the column chart type, you can choose to see the column in 2D, in 3D, etc).

Step 3

Next, you have to select the data range if this differs from the area highlighted before starting the wizard. If this is not the case, click Next. Next, you can edit the chart’s options. It is during this step that you can name your chart and if needed, the titles for the X and the Y axes.

 You can also edit other chart options, such as different settings for the axes, the grid lines and the chart’s legend. When you have finished selecting the options, click the Next button. The next step involves selecting the Chart’s location. If you want the chart to be placed separately on a blank worksheet, you should select the As new chart option.

Choose As object in if you want to place the chart in an exiting worksheet.

Step 4

After all the editing has been done, click Finish to generate the chart. After you have created a chart in Microsoft Excel, you can apply some other modifications to it: you can resize it, move it within the worksheet or even copy it in another program (such as Microsoft Word). If you need to resize the chart, click on it and drag one of the nine handles (you will see them as little black squares around the chart) and expand or compress the chart until it reaches the required size.

In addition, you can edit the chart by using the Chart Formatting Toolbar. From here you can select a different chart type (by selecting Chart Type from the toolbar), show or hide the chart’s legend (by clicking the legend Toggle button). You can also angle the text within the chart by selecting the Angle Text option button.
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