Chapter 18. Getting Started Making Charts


Charting overview

How Excel handles charts

Embedded charts versus chart sheets

The parts of a chart

Examples of each chart type

When most people think of 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. In fact, Excel is probably the most commonly used software for creating charts.

This chapter presents an introductory overview of the Excel program's charting ability.


One of the new features in Excel 2010 is Sparklines. A Sparkline is a mini-chart that's displayed in a single cell. Because this feature is significantly different from standard charts, I devote Chapter 21 to Sparklines.

18.1. What Is a Chart?

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 quite crude, but thy have improved significantly over the years. Excel provides you with the tools to create a wide variety of highly customizable charts.

Displaying data in a well-conceived chart can make your numbers more understandable. Because a chart presents a picture, charts are particularly useful for summarizing a series of numbers and their interrelationships. Making a chart can often help you spot trends and patterns that may otherwise go unnoticed. If you're unfamiliar ...

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