In This Chapter
What is a chart?
How Excel handles charts
Embedded charts versus chart sheets
The parts of a chart
The basic steps for creating a chart
Working with charts
When most people think of a spreadsheet product such as Excel, they think of crunching rows and columns of numbers. But, as you probably know already, Excel is no slouch when it comes to presenting data visually, in the form of a chart. This chapter presents an introductory overview of Excel's charting ability, and contains enough information for a typical user to start creating and customizing charts.
I'll start with the basics. A chart is a visual representation of numeric values. Charts (also known as graphs) have been an integral Part of spreadsheets since the early days of Lotus 1-2-3. Charts generated by early spreadsheet products were extremely crude by today's standards. But, over the years, quality and flexibility have improved significantly. You'll find that Excel provides you with the tools to create a wide variety of highly customizable charts.
In the first edition of this book, I offered an apology for the relatively poor visual quality of Excel charts. I'm pleased to be able to retract that apology for the Excel 2007 edition. The charting feature in Excel 2007 has come a long way, and Excel is now capable of producing charts with much better visual appeal.
Displaying data in a well-conceived chart can make your numbers more understandable. Because a chart ...