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Make one stop charts


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Make one stop charts

A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why Excel charts are so useful for communicating important information. A chart lets you see trends at a glance, based on how various sets of numbers relate to one another, and the Chart Wizard lets you generate a basic graph with just a few mouse clicks.

To use the wizard, select the data on which to base your graph, then click the Chart Wizard icon on the Standard toolbar. When the Chart Wizard appears, click Finish to accept the default settings and generate a chart instantly. If you want to go back and tweak the chart settings later, just select the chart, right-click it, and choose Chart Options from the context menu.

When you publish your chart, if you don't want to print the entire Excel worksheet, you can simply copy and paste the chart into a Word document. However, no matter how well you think your chart depicts the information you're trying to convey, you'll inevitably hear one comment from at least one person who sees it: "This chart is nice, but where's the raw data?"

To satisfy readers who like graphs, as well as the readers who prefer text, consider using the Show Data Range option for your chart. When this option is active, Excel includes a copy of the data that the chart is based on below the chart.

To show a data range for existing charts, right-click the chart and choose Chart Options. Click the Data Table tab, and then click the box for Show Data Table. When creating new charts with the Chart Wizard, you can access the Data Table tab through the wizard's third screen. With either method, the resulting chart shows both the big picture and the numbers behind the scene.

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