Use charts and graphs in your presentation

You can use Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 to make and edit charts and graphs using data in Microsoft Excel 2010. There are two ways to add a chart or graph to a presentation:

  • You can create a chart or graph in your presentation.    When you create a chart in PowerPoint, the data for that chart is edited using Microsoft Excel 2010, but the data is saved with the PowerPoint file.

  • You can paste an Excel chart or graph into your presentation and link to the data in an Excel file.    When you copy a chart from a saved Excel file and paste it into your presentation, the data in the chart is linked to that Excel file. If you want to change the data in the chart, you must make your changes to the linked worksheet in Excel, and then refresh the data in your PowerPoint presentation. The Excel worksheet is a separate file and is not saved with the PowerPoint file.
    Pasting a linked chart or graph is the easiest way to incorporate a chart built from an existing Excel workbook, or one with a large amount of data. For more information, see Insert a linked Excel chart in PowerPoint 2010

A bar chart created in PowerPoint

Note:  The following guidance assumes Microsoft Excel 2010 is installed on your computer. If Excel 2010 is not installed, a new data chart in PowerPoint is created using Microsoft Graph. In that case, some of the advanced data charting capabilities of Excel 2010 are not available.

Create a chart or graph in a presentation

To create a chart or graph in PowerPoint 2010, do the following:

  1. In PowerPoint, click the placeholder into which you want to insert a chart or graph.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click Chart.
      On the Insert tab in the Ribbon, you can insert a Chart.

    • In the placeholder, click Insert Chart Button image .

  3. Click the chart or graph type that you want and click OK.
    A Microsoft Excel worksheet with some sample data opens in a new window. To replace the sample data, click a cell on the worksheet and enter your data. You can also replace the sample axis labels in Column A and the legend entry name in Row 1.

  4. When you have input all data that you want in the Excel worksheet, click the File tab and then click Close. The chart in PowerPoint is automatically updated with the new data.

You can modify the chart in PowerPoint, including changes to appearance, size or position. Click the chart, then on the green Chart Tools contextual tab, use the Design, Layout or Format tab to make changes. To add animation effects to the chart, use tools on the Animations tab.

The Chart Tools tab appears when you click a chart.

You can change chart data in PowerPoint. Click the chart, then on the green Chart Tools contextual tab, on the Design tab, click Edit Data. For more details, see Change the data in an existing chart.

Tip:  Some types of charts, such as organization charts, flow charts, hierarchical diagrams, or showing repetitive information, might be more easily and effectively created using SmartArt. If you are not sure which would be the best tool, see When should I use a SmartArt graphic and when should I use a chart?

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