Working with Charts

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

Chart tools

Once you insert a chart, a set of chart tools arranged into three tabs will appear on the Ribbon. These are only visible when the chart is selected. You can use these three tabs to modify your chart.

The Design, Layout and Format tabsThe Design, Layout and Format tabs

To change chart type:

  1. From the Design tab, click the Change Chart Type command. A dialog box appears.
    The Change Chart Type commandThe Change Chart Type command
  2. Select the desired chart type, then click OK.
    The Change Chart Type commandSelecting a chart type

To switch row and column data:

Sometimes when you create a chart, the data may not be grouped the way you want. In the clustered column chart below, the Book Sales statistics are grouped by Fiction and Non-Fiction, with a column for each year. However, you can also switch the row and column data so the chart will group the statistics by year, with columns for Fiction and Non-Fiction. In both cases, the chart contains the same data—it's just organized differently.

Book Sales, grouped by Fiction/Non-FictionBook Sales, grouped by Fiction/Non-Fiction
  1. Select the chart.
  2. From the Design tab, select the Switch Row/Column command.
    The Switch Row/Column commandThe Switch Row/Column command
  3. The chart will readjust.
    Book sales, grouped by yearBook sales, grouped by year

To change chart layout:

  1. Select the Design tab.
  2. Click the More drop-down arrow in the Chart Layouts group to see all of the available layouts.
    Viewing all of the chart layoutsViewing all of the chart layouts
  3. Select the desired layout.
    Selecting a chart layoutSelecting a chart layout
  4. The chart will update to reflect the new layout.
The updated layoutThe updated layout

Some layouts include chart titles, axes, or legend labels. To change them, place the insertion point in the text and begin typing.