How to Create a 3-Sided Graph in Excel

by Shawn McClain

Excel graphs make visual representations of data, which can be easier to understand than long lists of numbers. While most charts can present data on two axes, if you need you chart to show the data over three axes, there are a handful of chart types that can do this. The process for creating a three-sided chart is the same as a two-sided one, you just need to choose a chart type that includes the third axis.


Open the Microsoft Excel 2010 file that contains the data you wish to make into a three-sided graph.


Click on any cell in your data table. Press "Ctrl" and "A" to select the entire table. If you need to graph only a small part of a larger table, click and hold on the top-left cell that you want to include, then drag the mouse to the bottom-right cell and release the button. Your table selection needs to include at least two rows or two columns to become a three-sided graph.


Click the "Insert" tab at the top of the screen.


Locate the "Charts" area of the ribbon. Click on the button for the type of chart you want to create. To make a three-sided chart, you will need to select either a "Column," "Line" or "Area" chart type. Once you click the button, a pop-up menu will appear with a number of additional chart choices. Locate either the "3-D Column," "3-D Line" or "3-D Area" button and click it. Be aware that both the "Column" and "Area" pop-up menus include 3-D charts that aren't three-sided, so be sure you are selecting the button labeled "3-D Column" or "3-D Line." Once you click the button, your three-sided chart will appear on the spreadsheet.


  • check Excel will automatically place your columns in the X-axis and your rows in the Z-axis. Click the "Switch Row/Column" button, found under the "Design" tab, to swap the X and Z axes.
  • check If you include both column headers and row labels in your selected data, Excel will automatically name the X-axis labels after your columns and the Z-axis labels after your rows.

About the Author

Shawn McClain has spent over 15 years as a journalist covering technology, business, culture and the arts. He has published numerous articles in both national and local publications, and online at various websites. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in journalism at Clarion University.