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Excel CHARTING Lesson: THE BASIC EXCEL SPREADSHEET

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Lesson 35 - Charting the Basic Excel Spreadsheet. Level 1 Free Training

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CHARTING THE BASIC SPREADSHEET

In this day and age charts are widely used in business to represent data in another way apart from just digits in a Worksheet. Charts can add color and style to a presentation and allow the reader to easily identify the trends and patterns that you may wish to relay. Charts can be created in a number of ways, but if you have never created a chart before, the Chart Wizard within Excel is probably the best way to Start . It will walk you through the process of setting up a chart prompting you for the information that you need to complete the process. Once you have created your chart, it can very easily be modified to suit your particular taste or needs. The data we will use for our chart is as described in the Previous Lesson .

OK, now we are ready to create our chart. We will only create a basic chart in this lesson, as we go into much more detail during the Excel Ė Level 2 training course.

Creating a simple chart is easily done by following these steps.

  • We should firstly save our file we created in the previous lesson , so letís do that now and save it as Charting. xls.
  • Highlight the range A2:M7.
  • Select the Chart Wizard icon (the one with the blue, yellow and red bars on the Standard Toolbar.
  • The Chart Wizard dialog box should pop up in front of you and you should be on Step 1 of 4.
    Notice here the different categories of charts available to you under the heading Chart Type: to the left of the dialog box. To the right of the dialog box are the different chart sub-types. If you wanted a preview of how your data would look in different types of charts, click on the particular chart that you like and click the button Press and Hold to View Sample with your left mouse button. This will give you a basic preview of how your data will look if that particular type of chart were selected.
  • We are actually going to select Column under Chart Type: and we want to have the first sub-type selected under Chart Sub Type:
  • Select the Next button to move on to Step 2 of 4 of the Chart Wizard.
  • You should have the Data Range sheet tab in front of you. We need to make sure that Rows are selected under Series In:
  • Select the Next button to take you to Step 3 of 4 of the Chart Wizard.
  • Step 3 is where you would put in a title to your Chart, so letís type CY2004 Income in the Chart Title box.
  • Under Category (x) Axis type the word Months. Your X axis is defined as the horizontal axis at the bottom of a chart.
  • Under Category (y) Axis type the word Dollars. Your Y axis is defined as the vertical axis to either the left or right (or both) or your chart.
  • We donít need to make any further changes in our simple chart, so lets select the Next button to move on to the final step of the Chart Wizard dialog box.
  • In Step 4 of 4 of the Chart Wizard you have two choices. You can select either As a New Sheet, which will place your graph on a new Worksheet and call it Chart1 (you may change this name if you wish), or you can select As an Object In which will place your graph over your data as an object that you can move to its desired location. We are going to select As a New Sheet and Type CY2004 Income where it currently says Chart1.
  • Click Finish.

Your chart should be produced on a separate Worksheet called CY2004 Income. They really are very easy to create and just as easily they can be modified. One thing of great importance to note with charts is that if you change your source data, your chart will update to reflect these changes.

If you wish to modify any part of a chart, you need to select that particular part, then double click to see the options available to you in the particular area that you have selected. For example if you double click on the maroon bars, you will see the option Format Data Series where you can change the color of your bars, Chart Type where you can change the type of chart you have selected, ie from a bar chart to a pie chart, Source Data which is where, if you wanted, you could change your source data. Add Trendline which obviously will give you a trendline, and Clear which when selected will delete the particular series you have highlighted.

Letís have a look at creating a simple pie chart from non-contiguous data (data not joined together) now. This is done in much the same way as charting from contiguous data.

Letís chart the Total Income for the year by Department

You now have a pie chart embedded in your data as an object. This chart can be moved or sized easily. If you wish to move an object, click inside the object (in this case a pie chart) so that it becomes active. You will know it is active when you see 8 handles (squares or circles depending on which version you are using) around the edge of the pie chart. If you then hold your left mouse button down until your mouse pointer changes to a cross with four arrow heads, you can move your pie chart to itís desired location.

You can also change the size of it easily, by selecting any of the 8 handles around the outside of your object until your mouse changes to a double headed arrow, then drag in the desired direction. Note here that if you select a corner handle, your object will be sized relatively, in other words the width will change relative to the height and vice versa as you drag.

Pie charts can be modified in exactly the same way as all other charts, by double clicking to select the part of the chart you wish to modify. Note as with all other charts, if you make a change to your source data, your pie chart will update to reflect the changes.

See FREE Advanced Excel Charts tips here!

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