Chapter 19: Getting Started Making Charts

In This Chapter

Charting overview

Seeing how Excel handles charts

Comparing embedded charts and chart sheets

Identifying the parts of a chart

Looking at 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 charts. In fact, Excel is probably the most commonly used software in the world for creating charts.

This chapter presents an introductory overview of Excel's charting ability. Chapter 20 continues with some more advanced techniques.

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 they've improved significantly over the years. Excel provides you with the tools to create a wide variety of highly customizable professional-quality 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 with the elements of a chart, see the sidebar later in this chapter, “The Parts of a Chart.”

Figure 19.1 shows ...

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