Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 Charts in VBA.

Creating Charts in VBA

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 10, 2015)

Excel is very handy at creating charts from data in a worksheet. What if you want to create a chart directly from VBA, without using any data in a worksheet? You can do this by "fooling" Excel into thinking it is working with information from a worksheet, and then providing your own. The following macro illustrates this concept:

Sub MakeChart()
    'Add a new chart
    Charts.Add

    'Set the dummy data range for the chart
    ActiveChart.SetSourceData Sheets("Sheet1").Range("a1:d4"), _
      PlotBy:=xlColumns

    'Manually set the values for the data series
    ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(1).Formula = _
      "=SERIES(""First Data"",{""a"",""b"",""c"",""d""},{2,3,4,5},1)"
    ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(2).Formula = _
      "=SERIES(""Second Data"",{""a"",""b"",""c"",""d""},{6,7,8,9},2)"
    ActiveChart.SeriesCollection(3).Formula = _
      "=SERIES(""Third Data"",{""a"",""b"",""c"",""d""},{10,11,12,13},3)"
End Sub

The comments in this example explain what is going on for each step. When setting the dummy data range, the SetSourceData method assumes the range is on a worksheet named Sheet1. If you don't have such a sheet in your workbook, you need to alter the command accordingly.

Later, when manually setting the values for the data series, the SERIES command is used to specify the label for the series (First Data, Second Data, and Third Data), the array of category labels (a, b, c, and d in all series), the array of values for the series, and a number specifying which series number this represents.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10347) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating Charts in VBA.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing the Default Drive

Macros can be used to read and write all sorts of files. If those files are on a different drive than the current one, ...

Discover More

Enlarging the Formula Bar

The Formula bar is used to display the formula that appears in a cell. You may want to modify how the Formula bar is ...

Discover More

Bumping Numbers in a Document

If your documents include words that contain numbers (such as a list of parts numbers) you may need a way to increment ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

10 Commandments for Excel Charts

Excel makes creating charts easy. Even though it is easy, you still need to exercise prudence in making sure that your ...

Discover More

Unwanted Weekend Dates in Chart

If you chart data that includes dates along one of the axes, you might be surprised to find out that the chart includes ...

Discover More

Understanding Custom Chart Templates

Excel allows you to create custom chart formats that go beyond the standard formats provided in the program. These custom ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.