How to Make a Graph in Microsoft Word
By Filonia LeChat
Microsoft Word 2013 not only lets you type and format text for documents, but includes graphic elements to transform that text into images that help your readers really visualize your writing. To add graphs into your files, step through a custom chart maker that displays information, without you having to open another software program. Charts are available for varieties of data, from single-plot points to multi-line scatters and bars.
Click the “Insert” tab, then click the “Chart” button on the Illustrations section to open the “Insert Chart” pop-up window.
Select the type of graph to add to the document, such as a pie chart or bar graph. Click the options, which vary per graph, such as a 2-D or 3-D look.
Click “OK” and Word adds a chart with generic data points to the document. Note that the “Chart in Microsoft Word” window opens, too, which is actually a window to Microsoft Excel.
Edit the generic data points in the “Chart in Microsoft Word” window with your real data for the graph. You can paste in the window or type the data. As you type, Word adjusts the graph to reflect the new data.
Edit the other options on the chart, such as the placeholder chart title name and axis names, to meet your document's requirements.
Review the options on the green Chart Tools tab and ribbon for additional customization features. This tab only appears when a chart is clicked. If you click off the graph, the ribbon disappears until you click the graph again.
Scroll through the chart styles, where you can customize the graph from Word’s default colors, fonts and layout. You can also add options to the chart such as labels and percentages.
Close the “Chart in Microsoft Word” window to remove it from the page and return to the Word document. Double-click the chart at any time to re-open it.
- If you already have a graph, including one you made in Excel, you can bring it into Word. Click the “Insert” tab, then click the “Object” menu. This button is not labeled, but it is a small blue window in the Text section of the ribbon. Choose “Object” from the drop-down menu and click the “Create from File” tab. Browse to where the graph is stored as an Excel spreadsheet and double-click to add it to the Word document. If you saved the graph as a standalone image, click the “Insert” tab, click the “Pictures” button, browse to the graph file and double-click it to insert it onto the page.
- You can also make a chart from a table with numerical data already in your Word document. Select the entire table, then click the "Insert" tab. Click the "Object" button on the ribbon to open the "Object" window. Click the "Create New" tab and scroll to "Microsoft Graph Chart." Click "OK" and Word inserts the graph with your data inside it. You can then make changes to the graph as illustrated above.
- These instructions are written for Microsoft Word 2013 users. Earlier or later versions of the software may behave differently.
Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.