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 Venn Diagrams with Excel Data.

Creating Venn Diagrams with Excel Data

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 14, 2015)

Stuart wonders if there is a way to create Venn diagrams in Excel. He couldn't find it as a charting option in the program, but wondered if there was a possible workaround so that the Venn diagram works directly off data within a worksheet.

A Venn diagram is a type of chart that is often used in set theory—it shows different sets of data and how they relate to each other through intersecting portions of circles. A quick check in the types of charts that Excel can create shows Stuart is correct—there is no choice for creating a Venn diagram.

You can, however, approximate a Venn diagram using the tools that Excel provides. If you aren't too interested in accuracy, you can use the drawing tools in the program to draw circles, size and format them the way you want, and then overlap them as appropriate. You can then add text to the drawing to label the different parts of the diagram.

A more accurate representation can be gained by using a bubble chart (one of the chart types that Excel does provide) to graph the areas. All you need to do is calculate the data points that represent the center of each circle and that circle's size. For instance, you might end up with something like this for three circles in the diagram:

X-axis Y-axis Size
5.00 7.00 90
6.45 5.50 120
5.00 5.00 77

How you get your data into a format that is appropriate for a bubble chart depends (of course) on the characteristics of your data.

Finally, you can rely on the Smart Art capabilities of Excel. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the SmartArt tool in the Illustrations Group. Excel displays the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box.
  3. At the left side of the dialog box click Relationship. Excel changes the types of SmartArt displayed in the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box.

  5. Select the Basic Venn diagram option available in the center section of the dialog box. (You may need to scroll down a bit to see it.)
  6. Click OK. Excel inserts the SmartArt object into your worksheet.
  7. Use the controls on the Design tab to affect the format and contents of the SmartArt object.

Additional information on creating a Venn diagram using SmartArt can be found at this Microsoft site:

http://go.tips.net/venn

You should realize that creating a Venn diagram using SmartArt is very similar to creating one by using the drawing tools available in Excel. Either way, the sizes and position of the circles is not based on data in your worksheet. Instead, they are only approximations based upon how you choose to draw the elements.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10844) 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 Venn Diagrams with Excel Data.

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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