Chapter 17. Creating Basic Charts

17. Creating Basic Charts

As you become more skilled with Excel, you'll realize that entering numbers , organizing your layout, and formatting cells aren't the most important parts of spreadsheet creation. Instead, the real work lies in analyzing your datain other words, figuring out a way to tell the story that lies behind your numbers. Excel's charting tools may be just what you need.

Charts depict data visually, so you can quickly spot overall trends. They're a fabulous way to help you find the meaning hidden in large amounts of data. You can create many different types of charts in Excel, including pie charts that present polling results, line charts that plot rising or declining assets over time, and three-dimensional area charts that show relationships between environmental conditions in a scientific experiment.

Excel's charting tools are enormously flexible: You can generate a simple chart with standard options in a couple of mouse clicks, or you can painstakingly customize every aspect of your chart's appearance (including colors, scale, titles, and even 3-D perspective). This chapter takes the first approach and explains how to generate straightforward charts, which you'll examine in detail. You'll also learn which chart types are out there. In the next chapter, you'll learn how to fine-tune your charts for maximum effect.

Note: All charts are not created equal. Depending on the chart type you use, the scale you choose, and the data you include, your chart may suggest different conclusions. The true chart artist knows how to craft a chart to draw out the most important information. As you become more skilled with charts, you'll acquire these instincts , too.
Charts Get a Facelift

If you've worked with charts in a previous version of Excel, you'll notice that Excel 2007 adds some serious eye candy . Overall, the types of charts you can create and the options to plot your data are the same as in previous versions. However, the rendering engine , the system that turns your data into lines and shapes , is completely new.

Along with the new rendering engine, Excel 2007 also changes the way you create your charts. Gone is the frumpy Chart Wizard. Now, the ribbon provides quick chart creation and easy-access options for changing every aspect of a chart, from its gridlines to its legend.

If you open an old Excel file (that is, one with the .xls file extension) and it contains a chart, you'll notice that it doesn't come with all aspects of the hot new look. (For example, it still uses some underwhelming primary school colors.) The easiest way to update an old chart is to apply a quick style, as described in Section 18.1.1.

Excel 2007[c] The Missing Manual
Excel 2007[c] The Missing Manual
ISBN: 596527594
Year: 2007
Pages: 173 © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: