Creating a Chart

Excel charts let you illustrate your workbook data graphically to see trends. Also use charts in Excel to visualize comparisons.

Chart basics

Have you ever read something you didn't fully understand, but when you saw a chart or graph the concept became clear and understandable? Excel 2000 has a chart feature you can use to help explain data. Many people find that a picture helps when they are trying to understand the significance of a list of numbers.

excel window with source data and chart

Source data

This is the range of cells that make up a chart.


This is the title of the chart.


Think of the legend as the key to the chart. It shows what each of the colors on the chart represents.


This refers to the vertical and horizontal parts of a chart. The vertical axis is often referred to as the y axis, while the horizontal axis is referred to as the x axis.

Data series

This is the actual charted values. They are usually the rows or columns of the source data.

Value axis

This is the axis that represents the values or units of the source data.

Category axis

This is the axis identifying each data series.