How to Create Simple Charts Using Microsoft Excel

by Yoan on December 23, 2006

simple charts in excel

Have you found yourself staring at these fantastic charts prepared by the Finance Manager in your company, and you wonder “how did he do that?” It must be something complex he learned in college. But that’s not the case; you can also create all kinds of charts in no time by following a few simple steps using Microsoft Excel. The charts can be embellished or simple; it is really up to you. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create two types of charts in Microsoft Excel.

For this tutorial, you will need Microsoft Excel. In this tutorial, I use data from a fictitious company called Celeste Cosmetics Co. Below please find a snapshot of the company and the data that will be used.

Scenario: Celeste Cosmetics Co. specializes in the whole sale of beauty products. Below is the sales information collected for the months of January 2006 through June 2006.
Stats Section

1. Go to Start>Microsoft Office>Microsoft Excel, and open the program. Once opened, go to Open>New to open a new spreadsheet. The picture below shows how a spreadsheet looks like. The rectangular boxes are called “cells” and you can enter, format and manipulate data within these cells.
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2. Enter the information from the scenario found at the beginning of the tutorial. Use the Format menu to format the cells as need be.

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3. Go to Insert>Chart and select chart.

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4. The chart pop up window menu will appear, and you’ll notice that you have numerous options. Click on the first option “Columns,” and select the first type of column on the second row as seen below.

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5. Now you will select the necessary data to build the column chart. Select the months and money totals under Monthly Sales and hit enter. In this example, the data is organized in columns so select “Columns” next to the option “Search in.” You will see a preview of how the chart will look like.

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6. Click Next to move to other format options. In the title tab, enter the title of the chart. In this case, the title will be “Monthly Sales.” You can see a preview to the right of the text box.

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7. Click Next, and a pop-up window will appear asking you if you want the chart to be placed on the same spreadsheet or as a single object in another spreadsheet within the same workbook. Click on the first option to create the chart in a separate spreadsheet, and click Finish.

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8. A new spreadsheet will be added to the workbook, and it should look like the image below. As you can see, this particular chart shows the sales information for six months in a column view. Please note that new chart will be placed automatically at the beginning of the workbook next to “sheet 1″ where you have all the data stored. The money amounts can be seen on the left hand side and the months were placed at the bottom. The chart depicts the differences in sale profits between the months. You can see that February was the slowest month, but May and June were the most profitable.

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9. In this step, you’ll create a simple pie chart with the “Top Products Sold by Month” information, following the same steps as before. Go to Insert>Chart and select “pie” from the menu of options (the fourth option on the left hand side of the pop-up menu). Then, you can pick from one of the six types of pie charts * in this example, please select the second one from the top row, and click Next

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10. Now you will select the data necessary to build the Pie chart. You can select the products and quantities under Top Products Sold by Month, Jan 06, and hit enter. In this example, the data is organized in columns so select “Columns,” and click Next.

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11. Under the title tab, enter the title of the chart. In this case, the title will be “Jan 2006 ” Top Sellers.” You can see a preview to the right of the text box.

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12. Click on the “Data Labels” tab and select “Values” * this will show the quantity figures in percentages, and click Next.

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13. Finally, you will see a pop-up window asking you if you want the chart to be placed on the same spreadsheet or as single object in another spreadsheet within the workbook. Click on the second option to place the chart within the same spreadsheet where you save the data. It should look like the image below.

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Congratulations! You now know how to create professional looking charts with Excel. Continue practicing the steps with Excel because the more you do it, the faster and easier it will become.


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