Chapter 5: Excel Charting for the Uninitiated

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

No other tool is more synonymous with dashboards and reports than the chart. Charts offer a visual representation of numeric values and at-a-glance views that allow you to specify relationships between data values, point out differences, and observe business trends. Few mechanisms allow you to absorb data faster than a chart, which can be a key component in your dashboard.

When most people think of a spreadsheet product such as Excel, they think of crunching rows and columns of numbers. However, Excel is no slouch when it comes to presenting data visually, in the form of a chart. In this chapter, we present an overview of Excel’s charting ability and show you how to create and customize your own charts using Excel.

What Is a Chart?

We 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, their quality and flexibility improved significantly. You’ll find that Excel provides you with the tools to create a wide variety of highly customizable charts that can help you effectively communicate your message.

Displaying data ...

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