Making Sure that Data Accompanies a Chart

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 14, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


In Jose's school he asks students to submit Excel charts. Many times, they submit completed charts that, when Jose opens them, are blank. He gets a message that the link to the chart's data has been broken. Jose wonders what he should include in his instructions to the students that will ensure he receives a chart that is tied to the data they have used and that will display as it should.

There are multiple answers that can be provided to this question. Largely, the correct answer will depend on what you want to receive from the student. For instance, if you only want to see the chart, then you could instruct the students to capture a picture of the chart and paste that picture into a new workbook or even into a Word document. (You would, of course, need to provide instructions on how to do the capturing and pasting.)

If, however, you need to see the data on which the chart is based, then the easiest approach is to tell the students to make sure the chart is embedded in the worksheet that contains the data on which it is based. (Charts can be created either as an embedded object or as an entire chart sheet. You want them to do the former, not the latter.) Then the students can send you the single worksheet that contains both the data and the chart. If you, at that point, need to see the chart larger, you can easily convert it to an entire chart sheet.

If you want the students to submit the chart on its own sheet, then your instructions should clearly point out that whatever they submit must contain two sheets—the chart sheet and the worksheet on which the chart is based.

Of course, if the chart is based on data in a worksheet that is in a different workbook (perhaps a workbook that you provided to the student), then they will need to know how to copy the worksheet from that external workbook to the workbook in which they created the chart.

It may be a good idea to suggest to the student that once he or she has created the workbook they want to submit, they should get out of Excel and restart the program to open the submission workbook. If they get errors, then they can correct them before actually submitting the workbook to you.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13799) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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

Spell Checking Only Checking Grammar

Word has a built-in spelling and grammar checker that can help reduce errors in your prose. It may be a bit confusing if ...

Discover More

Updating Automatic Links

Normally, Word updates links within your document when you first open the document. If you don't want Word to do this, ...

Discover More

Wrapping Text Around a Text Box or Frame

Text boxes and frames can be used for all sorts of information and objects in a document. You can wrap text around the ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Changing Y-Axis Label Width

Excel provides quite a bit of flexibility in how your chart looks. One of the least flexible places is in adjusting the ...

Discover More

Excluding Some Data from a Chart

Excel is a whiz at creating charts from your worksheet data. When the program tries to determine what should be included ...

Discover More

Changing Chart Size

Place a chart on a worksheet and you may not be satisfied with its size. Changing the size of a chart is a simple process ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 2 + 5?

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.