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Microsoft Excel 2007/2008

Getting Ready to Chart

Worksheets can be formatted to make creating a new chart easy. This document gives an overview of several ways to lay out your worksheet when preparing to create a chart. However, before you make your chart, you should consider creating range names for your data. Specifying range names in advance will decrease the potential for errors and enable you to add more data at a later date.

HINT: For an overview of how charts are created from your data, refer to About Charting.

You have two basic options for setting up your worksheet. You can choose to design your worksheet so the information to be charted is close together, or, if you have arranged your worksheet in a different way and want to chart only certain parts of your data, you can create a summary section for charting. The best option for you will depend on what the worksheet is designed to do.

HINT: Your chart will require the least amount of manual adjustments if the information to be charted is contained in a contiguous group of cells.

The more information contained in contiguous cells for charting, the less work you will have to do when creating your chart. Based on the Charting Rules, an organization style similar to the following graphic will make automatic charting easier. While this setup may not always be appropriate, note that this format can reduce the amount of manual adjustments required for your charts.

Example of summary section in Excel 2007

The above graphic is a sample worksheet section in Excel 2007 used to create the chart below. While the user needs to place the chart within the worksheet and initiate its creation, the organization of the data allows Excel to create and format the chart automatically.

HINT: For more information on creating charts, refer to Creating a Basic Chart.

Chart resulting from summary section

Charts can be enhanced by modifying the individual chart elements or by adding a new data series. Notice that the chart title is not included in the chart. Excel requires that this be added after the chart is created.

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