Functions and Charts in Microsoft Excel


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This walkthrough shows you some of the basics of creating functions and charts in Microsoft Excel. Using a fictional payroll report, you will learn how to create simple functions, conditionals functions, and even some simple charts with which to display your data.

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Functions and Charts in Microsoft Excel

  1. 1. Functions & Charts in Microsoft Excel Objective Among the most unique and exciting features of Microsoft Excel are its complex functions. In this class, you will learn to construct functions in Excel 2002. We will create a fictional payroll report to demonstrate how to use functions in Excel. You will learn some basic functions, including addition and multiplication, as well as more complicated “conditional” functions such as IF. During the class, we will also show you simple techniques for changing a cell’s category, copying functions, and making sure your functions work the way you want. To conclude the class, you will also receive a basic overview of creating simple charts of your data. You will learn how to select the right type of chart and customize them to be more attractive and useful. Outline Changing Cell Categories.....................................................................................2 Inserting a function.............................................................................................3 All about functions..............................................................................................4 Entering functions manually.................................................................................6 Copying functions................................................................................................6 Relative versus absolute references.......................................................................7 Conditional functions...........................................................................................8 Nested functions.................................................................................................9 Using text in functions.......................................................................................10 Intermission for some tidying.............................................................................11 Creating your chart...........................................................................................11 The Chart Wizard and selecting a chart type.........................................................12 Chart Options...................................................................................................13 Editing your chart..............................................................................................15 Different charts, different options........................................................................17 Further customization options.............................................................................18 Functions & Charts in Excel, p.1
  2. 2. Excel functions allow you to make complicated calculations quickly and easily. We are going to see a bit of what functions can do by creating a fake payroll report for our workplace. Please enter the data below into a blank Excel spreadsheet as displayed. Adjust the font styles and sizes to your preference. Hint: Are you finding that the employees' names are getting cut off because the column is too thin? You can automatically adjust the size of a column by double-clicking the right-most edge at the top of the column. Changing Cell Categories Before we begin analyzing our data, it would help to make it a little easier to read. For instance, it would be nice if our “Pay Rate” column were actually in dollars and cents. Fortunately, Excel saves us from typing in all those dollar signs by allowing us to change what’s called the “cell category.” The cell category represents how Excel “thinks” about the data that’s in a specific cell: whether it’s a date, a number, text, dollars & cents, etc. 1. Begin by highlighting the prices in the “Pay Rate” column. 2. Next, move your mouse cursor over “Format” in the menu bar and click the left mouse button. This will open the format menu, shown to the right. 3. Move your mouse over the “Cells” option and left click. This will open the “Format Cells” window shown below. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.2
  3. 3. This is the “Format Cells” dialog box, which allows you change various aspects of a cell including the font, borders, and appearance. It also allows us to change the category of a cell, i.e., how Excel displays and “reads” the data in the cell. 4. To continue changing our cell category, select “Currency” from the left-hand box and click OK. This will automatically change all of our highlighted cells to dollars & cents, as on the right. Notice that you can also have Excel round to the nearest dollar, ten dollars, etc. Inserting a function Now that we’re working in dollars & cents, we can insert our first function. Functions can be as simple as adding a few cells together or as complex as performing statistical analysis. We’re going to start off simple with the SUM function. SUM adds the contents of cells together. This function will be useful for telling us how many hours have been worked this pay period. Hint: Remember, the letter in a cell reference (e.g. A1, F26, etc.) always refers to the column, and the number refers to the row. 1. Begin by positioning your selection box in cell D15, just to the left of the “Total:” entry. 2. Next, move your mouse cursor over “Insert” in the menu bar and click the left mouse button. This will open the Insert menu, shown to the left. 3. Move your mouse over the “Function” option and left click. This will open the “Insert Function” window shown below. The “Insert Function” box gives you access to all of the functions that Excel has to offer, which is a rather extensive list. It divides them into categories, listed in the drop-down menu just below the “Search for a function” box. Thus, if you only want functions related to the date & time, you can select that category and the functions in that category will be listed in the box below. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.3
  4. 4. On the bottom of the window, Excel briefly explains the highlighted function and (somewhat cryptically) how to input it. 4. To continue entering our function, select “All” from the category drop-down menu. This lists all of the functions that Excel has to offer. Scroll down to “SUM” in the bottom box and click on it. 5. Click “OK.” This will close the “Insert Function” window and open the box shown below. Here, Excel is asking us, in its complicated way, what we’d like to sum. Once again, Excel gives us hints on what the function does and how it works. At the bottom of the “Function Arguments” window, you will also get a preview of the result of your function. You can move the “Function Arguments” box out of the way by clicking and holding your left mouse button and dragging the box somewhere more convenient. 6. Instead of adding numbers, as Excel's sample suggests, we’re actually going to add a range of cells. Using your mouse, highlight cells D5 through D15. Highlighting the cells will cause a dashed line to appear around them, as shown at right. 7. Click “OK” on the function box. Excel has now just added together the number hours worked for us! Hint: Did that take too long? We’re learning the “long way” of inserting functions, but you can also click the AutoSum icon to quickly insert a SUM function. All about functions Now that we've inserted a function, let's learn more about them. Begin by clicking on the cell D15. When you look at this cell in the spreadsheet itself, you see a number (in the example above, it's 579). However, what this cell actually contains is a function. You can tell this because the value shown in the “Formula Bar,” just below the toolbars at the top of your screen, is different. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.4
  5. 5. This text is the function as Excel sees it. This particular function adds together the values in cells D5 through D14. While each function in Excel is slightly different, they have many similar elements. These elements are shown below. Function Argument Data = SUM (D5:D14) The equal sign tells The argument tells Data (which could Excel that you want Excel what you be cells or numbers) to enter a want it to do (e.g. are what you’d like function, not a add, multiply, to have added, piece of data. count, etc.) multiplied, etc. In addition to the functions that you can choose from the “Insert Function” dialog window (which are numerous), Excel can also perform basic mathematical and logical operations. Here are a few that may be useful. Remember, however, that functions must always start with an equal sign. Otherwise, Excel won’t recognize your entry as a function. Operator Name Example Result + Addition 1+1 2 - Subtraction 2-1 1 - Negation -2 -2 * Multiplication 2*2 4 / Division 4/2 2 % Percent 10% 0.1 ^ Exponents 10^2 100 = Equal to 2=1 FALSE > Greater than 2>1 TRUE < Less than 2<1 FALSE >= Greater than or equal to 2>=1 TRUE <= Less than or equal to 2<=1 FALSE <> Not equal to 2<>1 TRUE Functions & Charts in Excel, p.5
  6. 6. Hint: The numberpad (the set of keys on the right side of your keyboard) is your friend in Excel. In addition to enabling you to type numbers quickly, it also includes several basic mathematical operators (e.g. add, multiply, etc.). Entering functions manually You don’t have to use the “Insert Function” window to enter functions. If you know what you’d like to enter and how it works, you can type it in yourself. To practice this, we’re going to calculate the gross pay for each employee. 1. To begin, move your selection box to cell E5, just under “Gross Pay.” 2. Type “=”. 3. Next, click cell C5 (Frank Anderson's hourly wage. It should read “$14.96”). 4. Type “*”. The asterisk is Excel speak for multiply. 5. Click cell D5 (The number of hours Frank worked, which should be 80). 6. Press “Tab” to complete the function. It should look like this: =C5*D5. The result should be $1,196.80. Copying functions Of course, that the function only calculates Frank's gross pay; it would help if it calculated everyone's gross pay. It would be really tedious to insert the function again for each cell. Fortunately, there’s an easier way to do this. 1. Begin by moving your selection box to cell E5, where we just typed the function. 2. Move your mouse cursor over the little black square in the corner of the cell. 3. Your cursor should turn into a small black cross. When it does, click and hold your left mouse button and highlight cells D6 through D14. 4. Ta da! Now Excel has calculated everyone's gross pay. Your Turn: Now that you've learned how to copy functions, do the same thing for the function in cell D15 (the total hours) and copy it into cells E15 through I15. Don't worry that there's no data to sum just yet. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.6
  7. 7. Relative versus absolute references Up to now, Excel has been pretty smart. It knew that when we copied the function to calculate gross pay, we wanted it to calculate it for that row, not just recalculate it for Frank. Sometimes this habit of Excel's isn't so smart, though, as we'll soon see. In addition to gross pay, we have to calculate taxes and required retirement withholdings. To set us up to do this, click on cell A17, two cells below “Smith, Joseph.” Type “Tax rate:”. Type “0.33” in cell B17. Now, click on cell A18 and type “Retire:” and type “0.08” in cell B18. Those are the rates for taxes and retirement respectively. To make this easier, we'll say everyone has the same rates. Your turn: It would be nice if the tax and retirement rates were in percentages. Use what you learned earlier in the class to change the cell categories for the two rates to percents, with no decimal places. First off, let's calculate the taxes. To do this, we need to multiply the gross pay by the tax rate. Start off by clicking on cell F5 and enter the following function. =E5*B17 E5 is Frank's gross pay B17 is the tax rate The result should $394.94. Looks good, right? Now, using what you've learned, copy the function down through cell F14. Uh oh! We must have done something wrong, because when we copy the function down to the other cells, it looks like the picture at the right. To see what’s wrong, click on cell F6 and then look at your formula bar. The function should look like this: =E6*B18 But wait a minute! Cell B18 is the retirement rate, not the tax rate! When we copied the function into different cells, Excel assumes that we want to change which rows we’re multiplying, too. This habit worked great to switch to a different employee's gross pay. However, we don't want Excel to change which cell it's using for the tax rate; that stays the same regardless. What we need to do now is insert what’s called an absolute reference. With an absolute reference, Excel will always use the value from the same cell (or row or column) no matter where you copy the function. With a relative reference (the opposite of an absolute one), Excel changes which rows and columns it uses to compute the function. 1. Move your selection box to cell F5, where we began the function. 2. Click inside the Formula bar and change the function to look like this: =E5*$B$17 Functions & Charts in Excel, p.7
  8. 8. 3. Copy the new function down through cell F14 to delete the incorrect function we made before. Placing a dollar sign in front of the column (the letter) and the number (the row) tells Excel to not change which cell it’s using. Since we placed dollar signs in front of the “B” and the “17,” Excel will always use cell B17 when calculating this formula. If we had put a dollar sign only in front of the “17,” Excel would have always used row 17 but would change the column if we copied the function into another column. Conditional functions So far, we've been entering pretty simple functions that don't vary. However, we can also have Excel make different calculations under different conditions. Such functions are called “conditional” functions, not surprisingly. We'll start off with the most basic of them: the IF function. Here's the scenario. All employees, even part-time ones, have health coverage. If they work more than half-time in a pay period, their contribution is only $20 per pay period. If they work less than half-time in a pay period, the contribution increases to $100. Assume that the pay period is two weeks. We could manually enter the amount by looking at the number of hours worked and typing the correct health insurance contribution. However, we can also have Excel figure it out for us. That's just what we're going to do, using the IF function. The IF function is entered as follows: =[What you want is true or false, the value if it's true, the value if it's false] In this case, what we want to know is whether an employee has worked more than 40 hours in a pay period. If s/he has, then the health insurance contribution is $20. If not, then the contribution is $100. With this information, we can start entering the new function. We'll use the “Insert Function” dialog box to enter it this time. 1. Select cell G5, just under “Health.” 2. Click on the “Insert” menu at the top of the screen, then click “Function.” The insert function dialog box will open. 3. You can find the IF function quickly using the categories. IF is what's called a “Logical” function, meaning it assesses whether something is true or false. Click the arrow next to the “select a category” box and click “Logical.” 4. Double-click “IF” in the resulting list. It will open the “Function Arguments” box shown below. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.8
  9. 9. 5. Move the “Function Arguments” box to a more convenient location. Then, click cell D5 (in the Hours column). The entry “D5” should appear in the “Logical_test” box. Type >40 immediately after it. Here, we're asking Excel to see if the number of hours worked in cell D5 is greater than 40. 6. Click inside the “Value_if_true” box and enter 20 (the amount for people who worked more than half-time). 7. Click inside the “Value_if_false” box and enter 100 (the amount for people who worked less than half-time). The completed box should appear as in the screenshot above. 8. Click “OK.” 9. Copy the function in cells G6 through G14. Now Excel will automatically determine which amount each person needs to contribute for health insurance. Nested functions Conditional functions are not only useful for returning specific values (e.g. “20”). They can also make different calculations depending on whether your conditions are met. You can accomplish this by “nesting” functions, that is, by having functions placed within other functions. We can nest functions by using our good friends, parentheses. If you remember back to your math classes, things inside parentheses need to be done first. That’s how Excel works, too. Parentheses are really important when constructing complex functions. We're going to try it now to calculate the employees' retirement contributions. At our fictional company, only full-time staff participate in the retirement program. They are required to contribute 8% of their gross pay to the retirement program. Thus, we need Excel to distinguish between full- and part-time staff. Fortunately, we already know that the IF function is good for making such distinctions. 1. Select H5, just under “Retire.” 2. Enter the following function. Use the Formula bar this time, to make it quicker. Below the function is a deconstruction of what it means. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.9
  10. 10. =IF(B5=Full,(E5*$B$18),0) If the employee is then their retirement If they're part-time, full-time . . . contribution is 8% of then just put “N/A.” their gross pay. Notice that the IF function has another function (multiplying the gross pay by the retirement contribution rate) nestled within it. Also, notice the absolute references in it to ensure we don't run into the same problem as when we calculated the taxes. 3. Press “Enter” to complete the function. Using text in functions Once again, things must not be quite right with this function because we got an odd error: This is Excel's strange way of telling you that you did something wrong. If you click back onto the cell with the function and move your mouse over the small black down arrow to the left of the cell, you can get more information on the problem. Your options are shown in the picture to the right. If you mouse over “Help on this error” and click on it, you'll find that the problem we're having here is that Excel doesn't understand the text in the function. Most functions are mathematical or statistical operations. Hence, Excel generally expects to see numbers. It's often not smart enough to tell the difference between text and numbers. Thus, you have to tell it when your data is numerical. We can do this with quotation marks. To make our function in cell H5 work, reenter it as follows: =IF(B5=”Full”,(E5*$B$18),0) Now, what we're telling Excel is the following: If you see the text “Full,” then return the gross pay multiplied by 8%. If you don't see “Full,” then return 0. Now that we've fixed the function, copy it down through the rest of column H. For extra credit (using what we've already learned), change the cell category in column H to currency and make everything right-aligned using the button. Your turn: Now that you've learned about functions, insert a function to calculate the net pay in column I by subtracting the taxes, health insurance, and retirement contributions from the gross pay. Try nesting a SUM function within the function to subtract from gross pay. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.10
  11. 11. Intermission for some tidying Now that we've completed calculating our payroll, we can start displaying it a bit more visually by making charts. Before we do that, though, it would be nice to clean up our spreadsheet a bit. As we were inserting our functions, we sometimes messed up our gridlines or didn't make Excel display our data in dollars and cents. Using what you've learned in this class and what you've already learned, clean up the worksheet a bit. Try to make it look like the worksheet below. Hint: To fix up the worksheet, you'll need to adjust the cell categories as well as the alignment and borders . Creating your chart All right, now we can get down to the business of creating charts. The first and most important thing to consider in creating charts is which part of your spreadsheet you want represented. For instance, in our spreadsheet, including all of the information on one chart would be confusing. However, we can create individual charts for various aspects of our spreadsheet, such as how much each person was paid or the amount of payroll that's taken up by taxes, health insurance, etc. We'll start off by making a simple bar chart of each employee's gross pay. The first thing we want to do is decide which columns (or rows) we need to have in the chart. To make a chart showing each person's gross pay, we only need to select two columns: “Name” and “Gross Pay.” Selecting the names will ensure that the people's names are included on the chart. Let's get started! 1. Begin by selecting the “Name” column. To do this, move your mouse over “Name” (cell A4), press and hold your left mouse button, and drag the pointer down the Functions & Charts in Excel, p.11
  12. 12. column through A14. Release your left mouse button. 2. Press and hold the “Ctrl” button on your keyboard. This allows you to select nonadjacent cells with your mouse. 3. While holding “Ctrl,” move your mouse over “Gross Pay” (cell E4), press and hold your left mouse button, and drag the pointer down the column through E14. Don't select the total pay in cell A15! Release your left mouse button. Your selection should look like the screenshot below. Notice that Excel tells you which columns and rows you've selected by highlighting the row and column headers. 4. Click the chart icon on the toolbar to start your chart. You can also insert a chart by going to the “Insert” menu, then clicking “Chart.” The Chart Wizard and chart types Telling Excel to insert a chart will open the Chart Wizard, shown at left. The Chart Wizard walks you through creating a chart. As you can see, you have a variety of chart types (e.g. bar, pie, etc.) available to you. In addition to those visible at left, you can also create Cylinder, Cone, and Pyramid charts. Charts can often reveal relationships among your information that are difficult to ascertain with only numbers. However, selecting the right chart type is essential to helping your audience better understand the information you're presenting. For instance, displaying the gross pay of each employee as a pie chart might show better the relative amount of the total payroll paid to each employee, but a bar chart may allow you to compare the amounts more easily. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.12
  13. 13. Each chart type also include sub-types. In the example above, we have the Column type selected. Under the Column chart type, we have 2- and 3-D options as well as stacked columns, layered columns, etc. Now that we've learned a bit about chart types, let's continue making our Gross Pay chart. 1. Click the “Bar” chart type and left, then select the 3-D option. 2. Click the button. 3. The next part of the Wizard, “Chart Source Data” (shown at left) allows you to customize which parts of your spreadsheet you want in the chart. If you select the correct sections before opening the Chart Wizard, you generally don't need to mess around with this section. We'll leave this alone. Click “Next.” 4. The next part of the Chart Wizard allows you to change various options about your chart. We'll discuss each of these in turn. Chart Options The third step of the Chart Wizard opens the window below, where you can fiddle around with your chart by adding titles, labels, etc. Here's and overview of what you can do on this window. These are the various aspects of your chart you can manipulate. The tab for the option you're currently changing will appear slightly raised. Here is where you can change the parts of the A preview of chart, in this your chart is case by adding displayed that titles and axis updates as you labels. change options. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.13
  14. 14. Now we'll continue with editing our chart. 1. On the Titles tab, name your chart “Gross Pay Per Employee.” Name the X axis (in this case, the vertical axis) “Employee Name” and the Z axis (horizontal) “Gross Pay.” 2. Click the Legend tab. Since we only have one variable in which we're interested (gross pay), we don't really need a legend. Uncheck the “Show legend” box to remove it. 3. Click the Data Labels tab. These options allow you to create various labels, such as the gross pay amount, on the chart itself. Check the “Value” box to do this. The other tabs also allow you to do interesting things, although we won't change any options on them for this chart. Axes allows you to change how the axes are displayed and whether the data on them is shown. Gridlines affects whether there are periodic lines on the chart to help people compare bars on the chart. Data Tables allows you to display a small table of the data from which you're chart is made. While all of these are useful in certain instances, we'll bypass them for this chart. 4. Click the “Next” button. The screen below will open. 5. This box lets you determine where your chart will “live” in your spreadsheet. You have to options: as an object within the worksheet where your data is (“As object in”) or as a completely separate tab in your spreadsheet (“As new sheet”). Which you choose depends on how you plan on using the chart. Generally, if you plan on printing or using the chart independent of the data, put it in a new sheet. That's what we'll do now. Click the button next to “As new sheet” and name the sheet “Gross Pay chart.” Now your new chart will open! Functions & Charts in Excel, p.14
  15. 15. Editing your chart Now that you have your chart, you may find that you want to change things on it. There are various ways you can do this, from making major structural to simple cosmetic alterations. You can use the Chart toolbar (which is probably floating above your chart somewhere) to make major changes. The Chart toolbar is shown below. Change the chart type Add a legend Switch whether (e.g. bar, line, etc.) or data table the chart is drawn by the rows or columns of the source data. If the chart toolbar is in your way, you can move it by clicking and holding your left mouse button on the top bar of the toolbar and dragging the chart elsewhere. You can even “dock” it next to other toolbars. You can also edit the labels on your chart, such as the title or axis labels. You can edit the font, color, size, and position. To edit an item, simply click on it. Try it now by clicking on your title. You'll notice that the title is now surrounded by a box. By clicking and holding your left mouse button, you can reposition the title anywhere on the page. You can also change the font style, size, and alignment on the formatting toolbar near the top of the screen. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.15
  16. 16. Editing axis labels is a little different. If you click on one of the labels (try clicking on “Smith, Joseph), you do not actually select the individual label. Instead, you'll notice that there's a tiny dot on each end of the axis. Like when you clicked on the title, you can now change the font of all of the axis labels using the formatting toolbar. If you double-click on an axis label, you'll open the “Format Axis” box (shown at left), which gives you more options for adjusting your axis. Double-clicking on any part of your chart generally gives you a menu with various options you can change. In this case, the options include changing the line style, font, cell category (remember that?), alignment, and scale. You can access them by clicking the appropriate tab. Changing the scale let's you adjust how high or low the numbers go on your chart, as well how often numerical labels will be inserted between the high and low values. Excel usually just guesses what scale to use, but you may need to adjust it. For instance, click the “Scale” tab and click inside the box next to “Maximum.” Change the value to $2,000. Click “OK.” Your chart will now go up to $2,000 instead of $1,800. Finally, you can also adjust the background of your chart, known as the “Walls.” Notice how the Walls are currently grey? Double-clicking click anywhere on the grey area opens the “Format Walls” box (shown at right). From here, you can change the line colors and styles using the options on the left side of the box, and you can change the background color on the right side of the box. Change the Wall color to white now by clicking the white box on the right. One final thing we might want to change are the data labels at the ends of each bar. They are somewhat difficult to read where they are currently located. If you click on one, all of them will be selected, as shown at left. Once again, you can now change the font. If you continue to hold your left mouse button on a data label and drag it, you can move the label. Unfortunately, you have to move each label individually. However, this may be an effective way to reposition the labels so that they're more readable. Play time: Using what you've learned, adjust your Gross Pay chart to make it more to your liking. When you're finished, click on worksheet “Sheet 1” to go back to our data. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.16
  17. 17. Different charts, different options Now we have a new chart to make: something that shows the proportion of payroll represented by the taxes, health insurance contributions, etc. This time, a bar chart doesn't seem like it will do the job. However, a pie chart might work. 1. Start off by selecting cells F4 through I4. These will be the labels for our pie chart. Making the labels part of your selection helps you avoid having to retype them later in the process. 2. Press and hold the “Ctrl” button on the keyboard and select cells F15 through I15 (the totaled amounts for taxes, health insurance, etc.). You don't want to select the total for gross pay in this case, however. Why? The proportion of gross pay is what our chart will be measuring, so having the total amount in it will mess up the percentages! 3. Click on the chart icon. 4. Select “Pie” in the “Chart type” box and the 3-D pie chart in the “Chart sub-type.” 5. Click “Next” to skip over the Chart Source Data options. 6. Now you'll be in the Chart options. Notice that we have fewer chart options now than we had with our bar chart: no options for Axes, Gridlines, or Data Tables. Your available options will depend on the type of chart you're using. 7. Give your chart an appropriate name. 8. Since we have a pie chart, it may help to include a legend. Click on the legend tab to change the options. Currently, the legend is located to the right of the chart. Under 'Placement,” click bottom. As you'll notice from the preview, this gives us more room for the chart itself. 9. Now click the “Data Labels” tab. Notice that you also have some new options here, including the “Percentage.” Check the options for “Value” and “Percentage.” You can also adjust how the value and percentage are separated from each other using the “Separator” options. Click the small down arrow next to “Separator” and select “(new line)” to make the two labels appear on different lines. Functions & Charts in Excel, p.17
  18. 18. 10. Click “Next” and choose to open your chart in a new worksheet. Name the worksheet whatever you'd like. 11. Click “Finish.” Now you have a another new chart! Further customization options A different type of chart also gives you different editing options. For instance, as mentioned before, we now have a legend telling about the different parts of the pie chart. Click on the legend. If you hold your left mouse button and drag, you can reposition the legend wherever you want, as when you edited the title bar in the bar chart we made earlier. While you have the legend selected, you can also change the font as previously discussed. In fact, most of the editing options we discussed while making the bar chart are also available here, and they're accomplished using the methods you've already learned. You can also resize the box, if you move the mouse pointer over one of the small dots that appear around the legend. When you move your mouse over one of the dots, the cursor will change to a small arrow. Click and hold your left mouse button, then drag the pointer to enlarge or shrink the box. Finally, you can also edit the coloration of your chart, including its individual elements. For instance, we seem to have two blue-ish shades in our pie pieces (the individual pieces of the pie are called “Series” in Excel). Excel automatically assigns these colors, but we can manually change these if we want. To do this, click on the piece you want to Functions & Charts in Excel, p.18
  19. 19. edit. The whole pie chart will be selected. Wait a second. Now, click on the piece again. Do not double- click the piece initially. If you do this, it will open the options for changing the entire chart, not the single piece you want. You will notice that the single piece you want is selected (visible by the dots surrounding it, as shown at left). If you now right-click on the piece, you'll have the option to “Format Data Point.” From here, you can change the color of the pie slice, much in the same manner we've discussed before. Under the “Pattern” tab of the “Format Data Point” window, you can select a new color for the slice from the color options on the right. Notice that you also can change how the data label appears as well as other “Options,” such as the angle of your pie chart. There are many other options for editing and creating charts in Excel. This class is just a very basic introduction to it. We encourage you to experiment with different options for making your charts more useful and professional. Last updated: February 10, 2009, by Buzzy Nielsen Functions & Charts in Excel, p.19