Add and format charts

Create charts

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Charts help you visualize your data in a way that creates maximum impact on your audience. Learn to create a chart and delete a chart.

Create a chart

  1. Select the data for your chart.

  2. Select Insert > Recommended Charts.

  3. Select a chart on the Recommended Charts tab, to preview the chart.

    Note: You can select the data you want in your chart and press ALT + F1 to create a chart immediately, but it might not be the best chart for the data. If you don’t see a chart you like, select the All Charts tab to see all chart types.

  4. Select a chart.

  5. Select OK.

Delete a chart

  1. Select the chart.

  2. Press Delete.

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Create a chart in Excel 2016 for Windows

Available chart types in Office 2016 for Windows

Some of us don't absorb the numbers as easily as others.

Let's imagine we'd like to display a chart to accompany this data.

In Excel, officially and formally, we use the word chart, not graph.

If you say graph, I have a good idea you mean chart, but chart is the term we look for and we use in the Excel menu system.

If you want a chart quickly, the data is highlighted, press Alt + F1, you'll get a chart immediately, right on the same worksheet, that might or might not be the best chart.

Notice also the menu system has changed.

We've got a new ribbon called Chart Tools, there's a Design tab, there's a Format tab.

The Design tab is more important for the most part, the Format tab is a lot about the visuals.

It's a lot simpler. It's been redesigned from prior versions, starting in Excel 2013, so still, one of the problems you will encounter as you work with charts sometimes is you've just got way too many choices.

So we've created a chart here with one method, Alt + F1. Alt + F1 always shows what's called a clustered column chart.

The most common chart type for most Excel users tends to be a chart of this type.

Now I'm going to Delete this chart simply by pressing Delete.

How about a chart with this data?

I didn't say it earlier, but do, when you're selecting data for a chart, highlight the row that's typically above it, also the column that's usually on the left side, for descriptors, labels, these will appear in charts as they did in the prior example.

As a general rule, but certainly not an ironclad rule, do not mix totals and details together.

We could do this, and I'll show you a bit later what that looks like, but imagine some of these totals appearing here.

Ultimately we've got a total here that's almost 8,000, and yet we've got some numbers here that are not even 200, so we're gonna have extremely high columns and very small ones at the same time.

So keep those out of there most of the time.

These are highlighted, we can create a chart certainly in some other ways as well.

The more standard way is to go to the Insert tab, and we've got a section over here, a group called Charts on the Insert tab, and up to the left, Recommended Charts, let's try that.

This is another approach to charting. And we see some options and often we'll see a scroll bar.

How does that look? That's called a clustered bar chart. I'm not suggesting in any way you memorize these, but you'll start to get familiar certainly with a few types here, clustered bar and clustered common are very common, as is the stacked version, here's a stacked bar, down here is a Clustered Column.

Now as you're looking at these, you're not always sure which type looks best, so scroll up and down a bit, explore these, take a look.

You'll decide on one of them, maybe this one is the one you like, click OK.

That's certainly an approach to printing.

And once again, we see those two tabs, Design tab and Format tab.

Click outside of the chart, they disappear.

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