Create a chart in a worksheet

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You can quickly create a chart in Microsoft Excel by using the Chart Wizard. In this wizard, you can choose from a variety of chart types and specify various chart options. Although worksheet (worksheet: The primary document that you use in Excel to store and work with data. Also called a spreadsheet. A worksheet consists of cells that are organized into columns and rows; a worksheet is always stored in a workbook.) data that you want to plot in a chart can be located in rows or columns, some chart types require a specific arrangement of the data before you can create a chart. For more information about chart types, see Available chart types.

  1. On the worksheet, arrange the data that you want to plot in a chart.

How to arrange data for different chart types

  • For a column, bar, line, area, surface or radar chart, you should arrange the data in columns or rows.

Data in columns:

Lorem Ipsum
1 2
3 4

Data in rows:

Lorem 1 3
Ipsum 2 4
  • For a pie or doughnut chart with only one series of data, you should arrange the data in one column or row only.

One column of data and one column of data labels:

A 1
B 2
C 3

One row of data and one row of data labels:

1 2 3
  • For a pie chart or doughnut chart that has more than one series of data, you can arrange the data in more than one column or row.

More than one column of data:

A 1 2
B 3 4
C 5 6

More than one row of data:

1 2 3
4 5 6
  • For an xy (scatter) or bubble chart, you can arrange the data in columns, so that x values are listed in the first column and corresponding y values and/or bubble size values are listed in adjacent columns.

Data in columns:

X Y Bubble
1 2 3
4 5 6
  • For a stock chart, you need to arrange data in the following order (in rows or columns): high values, low values, and closing values. Use names or dates as labels.

Data in columns:

Date High Low Close
1/1/2002 46.125 42 44.063
  1. Select the cells that contain the data that you want to use for the chart.

 Tip   If the cells that you want to select for the chart are not in a continuous range, select the first group of cells that contain the data that you want to include. Hold down CTRL, and then select any additional cell groups that you want to include. The nonadjacent selections must form a rectangle.

Nonadjacent selections treated as rectangle

  1. Click Chart Wizard Button image on the Standard toolbar, or click Chart on the Insert menu.
  2. Follow the instructions in the Chart Wizard.

For information about the Chart Wizard options, click Help Help button in the title bar of the wizard.


Change the default chart type

  1. Click anywhere in the chart area (chart area: The entire chart and all its elements.) to select the chart.
  2. On the Chart menu, click Chart Type.
  3. On the Standard Types tab or Custom Types tab, in the Chart type list, click the chart type that you want or accept the current selection, and then click Set As Default Chart.
  4. Click Yes, and then click OK.
  5. If the Add Custom Chart Type dialog box appears, type a name in the Name box and a description in the Description box, and then click OK.


  • When you create a chart, the Chart toolbar is displayed and the Chart menu is added to the menu bar. You can use the toolbar buttons and menu commands to modify the chart. For example, use the toolbar to select specific items in the chart, change the chart type, make formatting changes, show or hide the legend or data table, or switch between displaying the data series by row and displaying it by column. The Chart menu allows you to make changes to the source data, add data to the chart, specify numerous chart options, change the location of the chart, and apply 3-D effects. The Chart menu does not, however, provide a command for creating a chart.
  • The Chart toolbar can also be displayed (or hidden) at any time by pointing to Toolbars on the View menu, and then clicking Chart. If you display the Chart toolbar before you create a chart, you can use it to create a chart. Select the cells that contain the data that you want to use in the chart, and then click Chart Type on the Chart toolbar. The chart will be displayed in the selected chart type on the same worksheet.
Applies to:
Excel 2003