Excel Charts provide a way for you to graph out your numerical data in a visual format that is both easy to make and easy to understand. In this and subsequent tutorials, we will be using the below Excel data to create our charts.
Basic Excel Chart
Creating a Basic Chart in Excel
A chart in Excel can be created from selecting almost any part of your data, going to the insert tab, and choosing a chart. A quick example can be done by:
- Select Month and Hours data
- Go to the Insert Tab
- Choose the Column – 2d Column option
The resulting graph will show bars of data represented in the same format that our data is. You may be telling yourself, “that graph does not make any sense”, and you are right, it does not. The graph does show us our Hours and it does show Months, but the Months are repeated; just like how they are repeated in our data set for each employee/project.
Making the graph make sense
First lets define our objective with this graph.
Objective: I want to see the total hours billed per Month
To complete this objective, we can either:
- Manually rearrange our data to sum the hours for each month and then graph it
- Run a pivot on the data that sums for us
Let’s start with option one first.
- Copy your Month and Hours column headers and paste them elsewhere in your spreadsheet
- Figure out the total hours for each month. You can do this by selecting each Hours cell with the CTRL key, or by writing a SUM or SUMIFS formula. All three options are displayed below.
- Once you have your totals for January, February, and March, select your data like you did before and graph it.
Selecting with the Ctrl Key – Verify totals at the end – 145 and 145
Writing a SUM formula
Writing a SUMIF/SUMIFS formula
Your final chart should look like the below. Note that your chart can look entirely different depending on your objective. If you wanted to see employee or project information in your chart then you can certainly add that in to see the breakout. It is all a matter of what you are looking to accomplish.
Next we will go over making charts from Pivot Tables, ways to format your charts, as well as pivot slicers that can control your pivot table and chart at the same time.
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