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Overview of the built-in chart types in Excel

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This article was previously published under Q211951
This article describesthe types and subtypes of the charts. It also describes what type of data each chart best represents.

Area Chart

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

Bar Chart

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

A 3-D bar chart emphasizes the values of individual items at a specifictime 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 illustratescomparisons among items. Categories are organized horizontally, valuesvertically, to emphasize variation over time. Stacked column charts showthe relationship of individual items to the whole.

A 3-D column chart shows a 3-D view of a column chart in one of twovariations: simple 3-D and 3-D perspective. The simple 3-D column displaysthe column markers along the x (or category) axis. The 3-D perspectivechart 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 zaxis. This chart type allows you to compare data within a data series moreeasily and still be able to view the data by category.

Line Chart

A line chart shows trends in data at equal intervals. Although line chartsare similar to area charts, line charts emphasize time flow and the rate ofchange, 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. Thischart 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 dataseries to the sum of the items. It always shows only one data series andis useful when you want to emphasize a significant element. To make smallslices easier to see, you can group them together as one item in a piechart and then break down that item in a smaller pie or bar chart next tothe main chart.

XY (Scatter) Chart

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

Doughnut Chart

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

Radar Chart

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

Surface Chart

A surface chart is useful when you want to find optimum combinationsbetween two sets of data. As in a topographic map, colors and patternsindicate 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 sheetstretched over a 3-D column chart. Surface charts are useful for findingthe best combinations between two sets of data. This chart can be used toshow relationships between large amounts of data that may otherwise bedifficult to see. As in topographic maps, colors or patterns indicate areasthat are of the same value. The colors do not mark the data series. Thewire frame format displays the data in black and white. The contour chartformats provide a 2-D view of the data from above, similar to a 2-Dtopographic map.

Bubble Chart

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

Stock Chart

The stock chart is often used to illustrate stock prices. This chart canalso be used for scientific data, for example, to indicate temperaturechanges. You must organize your data in the correct order to create thisand other stock charts. A stock chart that measures volume has two valueaxes: one for the columns that measure volume, the other for the stockprices. You can include volume in a high-low-close or open-high-low-closechart.

Cone, Cylinder, and Pyramid Chart Types

The cone, cylinder, and pyramid data markers can lend a dramatic effectto 3-D column and bar charts.
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.
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Article ID: 211951 - Last Review: 01/24/2007 02:54:15 - Revision: 4.1

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