How to Make a Graph in Excel With Word and Number Variables

By C. Taylor

Illustrate key statistics using graphs.
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Graphs help to illustrate relationships between groups of data by plotting values alongside one another for easy comparison. For example, you might have sales figures from four key departments in your company. By entering the department names followed by the pertinent figures in Excel, you can display figures for one or numerous products attributed to each department. If you wish to correct or update the department titles or resulting sales figures later, the chart automatically updates to display the current information.

Enter the word variables down column A, starting at row 2. As an example, you might enter the sales teams "Alpha," "Bravo," "Charlie" and "Delta" in cells A2 through A5.

Enter textual headers for your numeric data across row 1, starting at column B. Continuing the example, you might enter "Widgets" and "Apps" in cells B1 and C1.

Enter the numeric data for each word category and figure header. In the example, enter Alpha team's Widget sales in cell B2 and its App sales in cell C2. Repeat for each team.

Click and drag your mouse across all data cells. In the example, you would drag from cell A1 to D5 to select all the data you entered.

Click the "Insert" tab, click "Bar" from the Charts group, and then select any of the chart types from the drop-down menu's first column. Excel automatically creates a chart with your word variables along the left and data plotted within the chart itself. The figure headers are added as a legend for the numeric figures. If you change any of these variables, the chart is automatically updated.