How to make a graph in Microsoft Excel

Excel is a great program to use for making and editing spreadsheets, but it can also be used to quickly produce some professional graphs. Excel graphs aren’t extremely detailed, but they are a solid way to add easy-to-read data to any presentation or report.

Step 1- Enter information into a spreadsheet. Columns will be vertical on the graph and rows will be horizontal.

Excel data sheet

Step 2- Highlight the cells you want to graph.

Cells highlighted in ExcelStep 3- Go to Insert, then Chart.

Insert Chart

Step 4- Choose the kind of graph you want to use. Your choice largely depends on what you’ll be using the graph for and what kind of information you have. To compare how things have changed over time, a line graph may be ideal. To display growth, a bar or column graph works nicely. Evaluate your information and how you want to present it.

Excel Bar Graph

Step 5- At this point, you have a basic chart. Now it’s time to spruce it up a bit. Add a title by clicking the “Chart Title” box at the top. You can change the colors using the options at the top, name each axis, and move or change the legend, which is located at the bottom. The goal is simply to make it very clear to read. A good graph is useless if it can’t be understood easily.


Who doesn’t love spreadsheets? Probably a lot of people, actually, but even if the thought of filling rows and columns with various data points doesn’t get your pulse rising, there are a number of industries where spreadsheets are a necessity. However, though there are plenty of third-party alternatives to Microsoft’s iconic office suite, Excel remains the premier application for making and managing spreadsheets. If you’re new to Excel — or an old hand who wants to plumb Excel’s depths — our Excel tips and tricks are sure to help you increase your productivity.

If you’re looking for additional Excel pointers, we’ve put together  guides on how to password protect an Excel document and how to make a graph in Excel.

What do you think of our guide to making a graph in Excel? Pretty simple, right? If you have some advice not listed here, feel free to share it in the comments below.

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