The first step in creating a graph is collecting the data. This data could vary depending on what type of graph you are attempting to create. Typically this data is collected in the field through surveys, measurements, counting, collecting information, etc.
Before putting your data together, you have to find a computer with Microsoft Excel loaded on it. Once you have found a computer, turn it on and search for Excel. Open the application, and you are prepared to start your graph.
Be sure to save your spreadsheet before you begin. Ensure you remember the location to which you are saving it, either your hard drive or flash drive and the name of the file. It is standard to name the file something relevant to the data you researched.
From here you can began entering your data into rows or columns. It’s ideal to create a table with the title of each row or column before the information in order to keep it well organized. As you can see to the right the information collected is placed below the title. To place the data in Excel, simply click on the cell (box) in which you want the information to go and type the information collected.
Now you are prepared to insert your graph. Look at the top of Excel for a tab labeled insert. Click this tab and a menu of options appears as shown below, choose the type of graph that will best represent your information. This can either be a line, column, pie, bar, area, scatter, or many other graphs. The most common graph is a scatter plot.
Have the data you want on the graph highlighted. Then select the type of graph you want. The graph should appear automatically. If the graph didn’t automatically appear, you will need to take another step to get the data on the graph.
Right click on the empty chart and choose select data. Once this new window opens, you will select add. Here you can do a couple things. You can label the title of the graph by typing under the series name. This image is pictured below. Then you can add your data. Here you can click in the box for Series X values and then click and scroll through the data you would like on the x-axis (example here 1 through 12). From here you can do the same for the data on the y-axis.
To create labels on the x and y axis, you will first need to click on an open area of the graph. Once you have done this, you should see an option at the top of Excel labeled Chart Tools and Layout. Select Layout and locate the item Axis Titles. Here you can select the vertical and horizontal axis titles and where you want them located on the graph. Once you select the type you would like, type the title of the axis.
From the same layout tab you could create a legend by selecting the location you would want your legend. This will allow the person viewing your graph to have a better understanding of what is going on.
Looking under the chart tools tab at the top of the screen, you can add many different features to your graph. From the design tab you can change the color, change the layout design, and switch the column and rows. From the Layout tab you can add pictures, shapes, text box, titles, add gridlines and trendlines, change chart name, and customize your axes. Then from the format tab, you can change the colors of various parts of the graph and add different effects to emphasize different points of the graph.
It’s very simple to edit your graph. You can do this by double clicking or right clicking and choosing format on the item you want edited. This can either be the axis, chart title, gridlines, legend, data points, or the line. From here you can choose to change the colors, numbers, alignment, a nd various options depending on what you are trying to edit.