Overview of the built-in chart types in Excel

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SUMMARY

This article describes the types and subtypes of the charts. It also describes what type of data each chart best represents.

MORE INFORMATION

Area Chart

An area chart emphasizes the magnitude of change over time. By displaying the sum of the plotted values, an area chart also shows the relationship of parts to a whole.

Bar Chart

A bar chart illustrates comparisons among individual items. Categories are organized vertically, values horizontally, to focus on comparing values and to place less emphasis on time. Stacked bar charts show the relationship of individual items to the whole.

A 3-D bar chart emphasizes the values of individual items at a specific time or draws comparisons between items. The subtypes stacked and 100- percent stacked bar charts show relationships to a whole.

Column Chart

A column chart shows data changes over a period of time or illustrates comparisons among items. Categories are organized horizontally, values vertically, to emphasize variation over time. Stacked column charts show the relationship of individual items to the whole.

A 3-D column chart shows a 3-D view of a column chart in one of two variations: simple 3-D and 3-D perspective. The simple 3-D column displays the column markers along the x (or category) axis. The 3-D perspective chart compares data points along two axes: the x axis and the y (or series) axis. In both chart variations, the data series are plotted along the z axis. This chart type allows you to compare data within a data series more easily and still be able to view the data by category.

Line Chart

A line chart shows trends in data at equal intervals. Although line charts are similar to area charts, line charts emphasize time flow and the rate of change, rather than the amount of change or the magnitude of values.

A 3-D line chart shows a 3-D view of a line chart as 3-D ribbons. This chart type is often used to display data attractively for presentations.

Pie Chart

A pie chart shows the proportional size of items that make up a data series to the sum of the items. It always shows only one data series and is useful when you want to emphasize a significant element. To make small slices easier to see, you can group them together as one item in a pie chart and then break down that item in a smaller pie or bar chart next to the main chart.

XY (Scatter) Chart

An xy (scatter) chart either shows the relationships among the numeric values in several data series or plots two groups of numbers as one series of xy coordinates. It shows uneven intervals, or clusters, of data and is commonly used for scientific data. When you arrange your data, place x values in one row or column, and then enter corresponding y values in the adjacent rows or columns.

Doughnut Chart

Like a pie chart, a doughnut chart shows the relationship of parts to a whole, but it can contain more than one data series. Each ring of the doughnut chart represents a data series.

Radar Chart

In a radar chart, each category has its own value axis radiating from the center point. Lines connect all the values in the same series. A radar chart compares the aggregate values of a number of data series.

Surface Chart

A surface chart is useful when you want to find optimum combinations between two sets of data. As in a topographic map, colors and patterns indicate areas that are in the same range of values.

A 3-D surface chart shows a 3-D view of what appears to be a rubber sheet stretched over a 3-D column chart. Surface charts are useful for finding the best combinations between two sets of data. This chart can be used to show relationships between large amounts of data that may otherwise be difficult to see. As in topographic maps, colors or patterns indicate areas that are of the same value. The colors do not mark the data series. The wire frame format displays the data in black and white. The contour chart formats provide a 2-D view of the data from above, similar to a 2-D topographic map.

Bubble Chart

A bubble chart is a type of xy (scatter) chart. The size of the data marker indicates the value of a third variable. To arrange your data, place the x values in one row or column, and enter corresponding y values and bubble sizes in the adjacent rows or columns.

Stock Chart

The stock chart is often used to illustrate stock prices. This chart can also be used for scientific data, for example, to indicate temperature changes. You must organize your data in the correct order to create this and other stock charts. A stock chart that measures volume has two value axes: one for the columns that measure volume, the other for the stock prices. You can include volume in a high-low-close or open-high-low-close chart.

Cone, Cylinder, and Pyramid Chart Types

The cone, cylinder, and pyramid data markers can lend a dramatic effect to 3-D column and bar charts.

REFERENCES

For more information about chart types, click Microsoft Excel Help on the Help menu, type Examples of chart types in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topic.

Properties

Article ID: 211951 - Last Review: January 24, 2007 - Revision: 4.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2007
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2003
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 Standard Edition
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