Quick start: Chart your data in a worksheet

A chart is a visual representation of your data. By using elements such as columns (in a column chart) or lines (in a line chart), a chart displays series of numeric data in a graphical format.

Column chart

The graphical format of a chart makes it easier to understand large quantities of data and the relationship between different series of data. A chart can also show the big picture so that you can analyze your data and look for important trends.


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Select the data that you want to chart.

Worksheet data

Tip    The data should be arranged in rows or columns, with row labels to the left and column labels above the data — Excel automatically determines the best way to plot the data in the chart.

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On the Insert tab, in the Charts group, click the chart type that you want to use, and then click a chart subtype.

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Tip    To see all available chart types, click Button Image to launch the Insert Chart dialog box, and then click the arrows to scroll through the chart types.

Insert Chart dialog box

When you rest the mouse pointer over any chart type, a ScreenTip displays its name.

For more information about any of the chart types, see Available chart types.

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Use the Chart Tools to add chart elements such as titles and data labels, and to change the design, layout, or format of your chart.

Chart Tools

Tip    If you don't see the Chart Tools, click anywhere inside the chart to activate it.

Next steps

  • To get a good idea of what you can add to or change in your chart, click the Design, Layout, and Format tabs, and then explore the groups and options that are provided on each tab.

  • You can also access design, layout, and formatting features that are available for specific chart elements (such as chart axes or the legend) by right-clicking those chart elements in the chart.

  • For step-by-step instructions to create a chart, see Create a chart from start to finish.

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