Creating Excel Charts

This Quick Tip will teach you how to create a chart in Excel with customized colors, fonts, and styles.

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How to create an Excel chart video transcript:

Have you ever wanted to turn your data into a spectacular bar chart or pie graph to make a presentation come alive? It’s actually very easy.

First, let’s switch over to our excel spreadsheet where this data came from. If you already have Excel open in another window, just press ALT+TAB and switch to excel.

Here we have the Widgets sold per month for 2010.

Really all we need to do is highlight the data clicking from one corner to the other.

Then click on the Insert tab, under the Charts section. Click Column, and select the first chart under 2D Column. And there we are, all of our data is now in an easy to view chart.

Also feel free to explore the different types of charts because they may be more appropriate for your particular data.; But we’re going to stick with a Column chart for our month to month comparison of sales.

This chart is good, but it’s not quite spectacular yet. We’re in luck because Microsoft gives a lot of freedom in customizing charts.; We’re going to explore each section of the Chart Tools – Design, Layout, and Format. And some other cool customization features.

So first let’s resize the chart. Move your mouse to the corner and drag.

When the chart is highlighted we’ll see a section come up called Chart Tools. Here we’ll find a few extra tabs for customizing our chart. It’s important that the chart is highlighted otherwise that section disappears. In the design tab, we’ll see chart Styles where we can change the look. We can also change the Layout here under these pre-set chart layouts.

For the most part, it’s easy to find a chart layout that fits your needs. But if you can’t seem to find a layout that works for you, you can further customize the Layout in the Layout tab. For instance, I don’t like the Legend here on the side. And I’d rather these numbers be above the bars than inside the bars. So I can click the Legend button and select None and the Data Labels button and select outside end. It’s a good idea to explore these when you make your chart to get the details you want.

Also in the layout tab, we can also give the chart a trendline to demonstrate that our sales are increasing. I’m going to stick with the basic linear trendline.

In the Format tab, we can give our chart a background color, (pause) a border, (pause) or even a cool 3D feel.

It doesn’t end with just these 3 tabs.

We can change the width of the bars by left-clicking a bar to select them and then right clicking, scrolling down to Format Data Series and adjusting the Gap Width.

We can also change the title text by highlighting the current text and writing something new.

Let’s also change the format of the months on the bottom of the chart. Because this chart is linked to the data in our excel sheet, we can edit the text for the months in the data section and it will change in our Chart. Excel assumes we are talking about months here, so all we have to do is drag this little black box to the bottom of our data.

We can even change the orientation of this text by going to the Home tab > Alignment section > and clicking the orientation button > Angle counterclockwise. I’m going to make the vertical numbers larger just by changing the font to 12.

Our chart is looking pretty good. Let’s put it in our presentation. Highlight the chart and press CTRL+C for Copy. Switch back to the presentation slide (ALT+TAB). Finding PowerPoint.

And I’m going to delete this data first. Select the box and then left click on the border. And press DELETE.

Now right-click in the body of your powerpoint slide, and you’ll have all these different Paste Options. The two that you’ll be using the most are pasting as a “Picture” and pasting by using the “Destination Theme and Embedded Workbook” also known as CTRL+V for paste.

I actually prefer this over pasting as a picture because it tends to flow with the rest of your powerpoint much better.

Now you know how to create a simple chart with Excel data, customize it, and make your presentation come alive.