Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Creating a Chart.

Creating a Chart

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 2, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


When you create a chart using Excel, the value within each cell that is being charted is converted to a datapoint, which is at the intersection of the X and Y axes for two-dimensional charts or the X, Y, and Z axes for three-dimensional charts. This datapoint can be expressed in any number of chart styles, including bars, columns, lines, and pie wedges.

Perhaps the most common method of creating a chart is to use the tools on the Insert tab of the ribbon, in this manner:

  1. Select the data range to be charted, or select a single cell within the table you wish to chart. Don't include any summary or total information in the range. You will create the best charts when you work with raw data. You can select any headings, however.
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. In the Charts group, click the tool that represents the type of chart you want to create. Excel displays a number of variations of the chart you selected.
  4. Click on a chart variation.

That's it; your chart is inserted in your worksheet and Excel adds some additional tabs to the ribbon. If you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010, it adds three tabs: Design, Layout, and Format. If you are using Excel 2013 or a later version, it adds only two new tabs: Design and Format. The additional tabs are available whenever you select the chart you just created. You can use the tools on the tabs to change the way your chart looks.

If you want to make a chart even quicker and you want to leave the details to Excel, all you need to do is perform step 1 and then press F11. Your chart will be displayed on a new worksheet. If you want to create a chart in the existing worksheet, press Alt+F1 After that, you can modify any specifics of the chart that you desire.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7928) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating a Chart.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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