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Excel For Noobs Tutorial: How to Insert Charts, Chart Tools and Chart Formats For 2007, 2010 and 2013
In this tutorial we are going to create our first chart in Microsoft Excel. Charts are excellent tools because they give comparable images of different values providing a more efficient representation of data inserted into a report.
If you have been following along then you should have your sales report that we created in previous tutorials. If not then you can still learn how to use charts in Excel by following the steps provided.
Inserting Charts in Excel
There are different ways to insert charts in Excel. The most common way is to select a data range and then pick the type of chart that best represents your data. Letís do an example. In our example we are going to create a column bar chart that represents multiple series of data. The categories will be the types of shoes and the series will be FY 2011 Sales and FY 2012 Sales.
Step 1: Select cells B3 through D11.
Step 2: Now click on the Insert Tab and select the 3-D Clustered Column Chart. This chart is used to compare multiple series of values among different categories. In our example we are only using two series of values but it can be used for more than 2 series of values.
Step 3: Now double click the chart title and enter Sales Report.
Step 4: Hold your cursor over the corner of the chart and your cursor will turn into a diagonal double arrow. Click and move your mouse until your chart is the size you want.
Step 5: Double click on a blank part of the chart and a Format Chart dialog box will appear. A Contextual Tab named Chart Tools will also appear in the ribbon. In the Format Chart Area you will see Chart Options. Click on the Fill button and select Gradient Fill.
Step 6: Now click on the Effects button in the Format Chart Area and experiment with the different types of effects.
Step 7: Now while the chart is still selected and the Chart Tools contextual tab is still activated, click on Switch Row/Column in the Data group. When you do this Excel will make each item an individual series and will make FY 2011 and FY 2012 horizontal axis labels.
Step 8: Play with the different Chart Styles located in the ribbon under the Chart Tools contextual tab and choose a chart style that you like.
Addition Chart Formats and Tools
There are thousands of different ways you could format your chart and it would be very time consuming for me to walk you through every single different option. Microsoft has made Excel self-explanatory for the most part and I am just giving you a starting point for you to learn on your own. In the Chart Tools contextual tab you can modify your font with different styles, sizes and colors. You can also modify the entire chart by selecting the entire chart, or you can modify certain parts of the chart by selecting the part that you want to modify. You can add fills, patterns, shadows, glow etc. The point I am making is that it seems as if Microsoft has given Excel us an infinite variety of styling options for our charts. Experiment with it yourself.
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