How To Easily Create Excel Charts


Charting data entered into an Excel spreadsheet does not have to be a complicated procedure. This article shows you step-by-step how to make that happen. First, we will create a simple worksheet and add some random data. Then we will create a quick chart of that data.

empty-worksheet

Open Excel to a blank worksheet.

add-data

Create some data to demonstrate with.

To enter today’s date, I used the shortcut Ctrl+;


random-values

One of the many available functions is RANDBETWEEN. We will use it to enter random values for our demo. Click on cell B4 and begin to enter the function by typing =ra. A list of functions starting with ra pops up. Select RANDBETWEEN.

random-between

Enter the range of values you want, low comma high, then press Enter.

drag-fill-handle

Now click on B4 and double-click the fill handle to copy the values down. Notice it generated additional random numbers.

auto-sum

After copying the formula down, we will add a total. Click in B8 and type Alt+= to generate the SUM function summing the numeric cells above it. Press Enter.


select-column

Click on the column heading B to select the entire column.

format-column-b

Right-align and choose comma style to format the values and line up the column heading.

select-data

Select the data to be included in the chart.

chart-created

Press F11 to have Excel generate a quick bar graph. Use the tools on the Design ribbon to change the type of graph, the colors, and more. Or just use it as is.


final-chart

The values are on the left of the chart and the area names are across the bottom with the bars above them.

In this demo, we learned how to auto-generate a date field, create random values, auto-sum a column of values, format an entire column of data, and generate a quick chart.

Dick


About the Author

Dick Evans

Dick Evans has been in the tech industry for more than fifty years. Beginning his career in the '60s on IBM mainframes, he has been a Programmer, a Data Processing Manager (now called Information Systems Manager), a Consultant, an Assistant Professor, and a Writer. He has been published in a number of computer publications and has spoken at conferences here in the US and abroad. He is currently retired from the faculty at Rhode Island College and consulting/writing part-time, holding teaching seminars, and maintaining a number of Web sites. He maintains a blog with technical “stuff” and has a Web site at rwevans.com.

2 Comments

  1. Unless I misunderstood what was being explained, the main takeaway from this article was that you can create a quick chart by pressing F11. Why was so much space taken up with creating some data to put in the chart?

  2. Yes, F11 was the main takeaway. There were a few other things thrown in. I guess my teaching background created a little more than a single takeaway that might be useful to some less experienced Excel users.

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