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Office Excel 2010 Charts And Graphs

Charts and graphs are a great way of representing your data. Microsoft Excel 2010 offers almost every chart type and makes it easier to draw them so that your data can quickly understood in a graphical format. In this post you will learn what each chart and graph represents and the additional functionality that you might not have heard about.

How To Draw Charts In Excel 2010

First of all make sure that there is some data in your excel sheet and that your excel sheet does not contain any blank cells between the different columns, then click the Insert menu and choose the chart type that you wish to draw.

Excel 2010 Chart

The data in your Excel sheet will be organized as a chart.


Once the chart is drawn, it becomes very easy to change the attributes, right-click the chart and you will see the options for changing chart types, data, and other formatting.

Chart properties

Chart and Graphs Types In Excel 2010

The chart or graph type will depend on the data for which you are going to plot the chart. The most commonly used types include Column Chart, Line Graphs, Pie Chart, Bar Graph, Area Chart, Scatter Graphs, Stock Chart, and Surface Chart, among many others. Lets discuss these chart types, and the situations in which a specific chart type is used.

Column Chart

The Column chart is one of the most commonly used chart type and is used to show the changes in data over a period of time or illustrate comparisons among items.

Column Chart

Line Graphs

Line Graphs are mainly used to plot changes in data over time. The best example of this chart type can be the weekly change in temperature.

Line Graphs

Pie Chart

The Pie Chart is very useful when you wish to emphasize on a significant element in the data. It represents data in the form of a pie.

Pie ChartBar Graph

A bar graph illustrates comparisons among individual items.

Bar Graphs

Area Chart

An area chart displays the magnitude of change over time.

Area Chart

Scatter Graphs

The Scatter Graph and Line chart are almost similar, but the scatter graph is displayed with a scribble line whereas the line graph uses connected lines to display data.

Scatter Graphs

Surface Charts

A surface chart comes in handy if you are to determine the optimum combination between two sets of data.

Surface Chart

Chart Plot Area

The area that is covered by a specific chart is called the chart plot area. By default Excel draws charts according to the default configuration, but its very easy to edit the plot area, simply right-click the chart and choose the Format Plot Area option. Now you will see a dialogue box which lets you set the chart’s fill style, borders, Glow and soft Edges, and 3-D effects.

Chart Plot Area

Embedded Charts and Chart Sheets

You can create a chart on it’s own chart sheet or on a worksheet. In both ways the chart is linked to the source data on the worksheet, which means the chart is updated when you update the worksheet data. In order to set the chart to change while the values of some particular cells changes, right-click the chart and choose the Select Data option, and then select, and add the fields that you wish to include in this process.

Embed Charts



  1. How do I move the axis of a scatter chart to the bottom of the chart area? It is presently buried in the center in a big pile of data points and is not legible.

  2. how do I graph data as total then show sub data within that same column. Like total sales and then I want to show where the western regions stack up to the total but in the same bar?

  3. If we select the data and press F11 a column chart will automatically inserted as a new Chart tab. My question is : Is there any short cut key to insert a chart in to same tab instead of new Chart tab?

  4. Anyone know how to change the series order of values in a column graph in Excel 2010 when utilising the Primary & secondary axes of an excel 2010 column graph? Dominick_stuart@baxter.com

  5. Thanks a lot for posting these good tips:)
    Do you know how could I ploting XRD peaks in excel? please HELP me.

  6. It would be great except for the fact that my MS Off Home and Student will not create a chart or a graph. I even tried the re-download feature from my original purchase, now it shows I DON’T have any purchases!! I really hate to have to go back to excel 2007…..

  7. How can I bold a single data line in a bar graph? For instance I have a graph with multiple data entries and I’d like to bold the label and value for a single bar set. How can I do that?

  8. All,
    I am having my excel charts originally designed in excel 2003. now I want to modify them and add additional curves but it does not add at all. earlier I had excel 2003 so I was saving in 2003 mode and making the curve and coming back but now I do not have it any more. I hate this crap 2010. anyone has same problem?? does anyone have any solution for this?? please heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp.

  9. On one hand, you have to go through a sh?t-ton of extra crarp to make a simple graph…
    But on the other hand, it’s much easier to change the color of the shadow of the chart title! 😀

    Gotta love Microdick’s sense of prioritizing!

  10. Has anyone figured out how to do a “mixed chart” (columns & line)? I can’t figure it out. Any help would be much appreciated.

  11. How do I simply change the axis values to remove a large part of the graph area where there are no values?

  12. OKay here’s my question:   Can I modify the default chart that Excel throws up for each type?  I’d like to use the same set of fonts as the rest of my presentations, the standard colors that my company uses….but be able to do that without modifying every darned chart individually!  My data is actually coming in from another app that just uses Excel to create the chart…..thought I could create macros to do that but even that process is smacking me down in this version of Excel….too much security!!   Help!  Appreciate any guidance anyone can provide to make me productive!!

  13. one thing they fail to mention is that you must convert your excel data incase you exported it, from text to number data before the plotting will work

  14. i find it very hard to change the legend label, i.e. add a description for each color in the legend. I have found right clickselect data is quite troublesome. I cant co-ordinate the series selection. It works fine for entering the data itself (y axis), MS Excel is fumbly when it comes to entering data for the legend (x axis).

  15. Crapper every new version.  I agree with Megan and others. Microsoft makes’um dummer seemingly on purpose, or is it to sell a new one. I’m going to take a look at Open Office to see if they may be smarter.

  16. I only want to graph a single series of connected data; x-axis, y-axis. (The most common, most  elementary and most usefull of all charts).  All the preformated charts want to show two series of x-data , y-data.  Have been playing with it for 3 days. Nowhere!!!!!!  I should not have to learn a new formatting language just to make the simplest of all charts.

  17. How to create a multiple line chart with each individual X and Y values? EXCEL 2010 SUX at this. I tried to create 3 line graph with different X values. For all three lines the graph use only one X value!!!

  18. I must say…the old days were better…I am pulling my hair out about this. All I want to do is make a simple relationship between two continious variables ( scatter or line I have no idea). This seems to create a problem for excel 2010 where as I have never had problems before.If anyone can help It would be much appreciated.

  19. This is TERRIBLE.  Look at your line graph- NO ONE wants the Day to be graphed as well as the weather.  That’s just Daft.  I HATE that I can’t control the labels of my own axis like I could in 2007!

  20. I hate xcel 2010.   I just spent an hour trying to work out why my data wouldn’t show in a column chart. 

    It didn’t want to plot the results of   “=fixed(a1,0)” and even when I pasted the result to a new cell with the paste special command “value”.  

    In order to get the latter  to work I had to put the pointer in the cell  after and before the number. 

    In old xcel I used to create a template which would pick up my data, headings and legends and I would just bang out graphs.  Now I’ve got to fiddle about so much that it’s slowed my productivity by 10x at least. 

    About 50 graphs that I was hopping to bang out in an hour or so is going to take me a day or more and it’s going to be the most mindnumbingly, boring, tedious job ever.

    • Like some others I’ve been using Excel for 20+ years but I’m frustrated (XL’10) . I want to plot single datapoint (Y) for each of 50 years (X) in simple bar graph. Easy-shmeazy right? I want to show 3-trends, to plot them as 3 different, non-overlapping series, each covering a different period of the 50 years (~early, mid, late). I can’t for the life of me get it right. the 2nd or 3rd series gets plotted on some of the same years as the 1st series. Why is this so hard? 

    • I am in the same boat. I am trying to add a data series to a graph that has already been created. The data are in a relatively straight-forward format with multiple series of y-values related to a single series of x’s. But I do not want to add the whole data set. I also want to add a series to a graph from a separate worksheet. All of this was easy to do in the older versions of Excel. The message I get from Excel when I click on the Source Data tool is

      “The data range is too complex to be displayed. If a new range is selected, it will replace all of the series in the Series panel.”

      Who are the idiots who designed this? If t was so “complex”, why was it so easy to create and work with when I created it in MS Excel 2003?

      Microsoft has taken a very usable programs and perverted it into an unusable mess.

  21. worst thing in the world! this was suposed to help me with an assingment and i got a d-!!! thank a lot now im grownded for 2 months

  22. MIcrosoft Excel 2010 is not a big deal. All Microsoft has done is changed the ribbon and made the program a bit harder to use. Personally I think we should wait for the next office and hope for the best.

    • I would recommed just staying with the older version of Excel, and not purchasing anything new from Microsoft. All they seem to do is take things that were easy to do and obfuscate (a very appropriate word here) the process and make it much harder for the user to do simple things.

  23. This did not tell me one thing to do to actually help me!!!!!!!!!!!! I still would not know how to put words that actually fit my need under the bars on the bar graphs, or how to change the number orders on the left. Absolutely nothing practical at all.

  24. This tutorial is rubbish wtf Tells me one sentence about scatter graph, and doesn’t tell me how to actually use this feature. Bi*ch

  25. I don’t see how this tutorial could be useful.

    I have a table with multiple attributes and I want a chart of some of these attributes. How do I select which column goes on which axis?

    It looks like this tutorial aims at producing a chart. Just any chart. Anyone can, indeed, do this by clicking insert->chart. Point is, I want it to be USEFUL and represent the data I choose in a way that I choose. How do I accomplish this?

  26. I didn’t realise I’d need an IT degree to create a stupid bar graph, have to go back to searching “excel 2010 how to create bar graph”!!!! How can something be so counter intuitive??

    • I have two degrees (one of which is a 4-year IT degree) and I can’t figure out how to get the Chart Wizard back. It’s ridiculous.

  27. Aaah, how strangely intense I hate Microsoft and its constant habit of producing new worse versions of a software that I just learned to use, depsite it being the least user friendly piece of crap imaginable, just because they make money by releasing versions. Now I need to spend hours to figure out how to make a simple chart. Where the hell is my data???

  28. I completely agree with megan. This doesn’t help at all. How the hell do I create a bar graph with data in Excel???

  29. I’ve been using Excel for 20 years. Every time a new version comes out, it’s more dumbed down than the last, and I have to spend lots of time figuring out how to do the stuff I’ve always done. Right now, trying to do a scatter plot with dates ‘x’ axis. I’ve always done this, but now, I can’t figure out how to get the actual dates I have in the column to show up on the axis, rather than nonsense dates that don’t correspond to the data. rrrrrrrr

    • Glenna sez it exactly right. New version = dumber version, where the hell did they put ….

      I dunno what they’re smoking at MS but it keeps getting worse and worse and they think it’s better!  For example – simple pie chart is broken – data no longer updates dynamically. Pain in the a$$  

  30. This tutorial leaves out two critical words: “Pivot Tables”

    Pivot Tables are you saviour speed graphers.

    • Pivot tables in 2010 suck to, overly complicated, to many too big buttons, no drag and drop or that I can see, took me half hour to run a pivot it would have taken 2 minutes in older versions of excel. Why did you F it up Microsoft!

    • Shut up Dan, you’re a moron. Excel 2010 is fantastic! Just learn how to use it before you bash it, you moron! Pivot Tables in Excel 2010 have the added benefit of being fully dynamic, as opposed to the older versions. Why don’t you just try google docs if Excel 2010 is too advanced for you. This is the only Microsoft error, making Excel available to all kinds of idiots. It should be reserved to computer-savvy guys. All you other idiots stick to older versions or… freeware. Try tetris, that should keep you busy for a few weeks… moron…

  31. I really hate 2010 Excel’s Charts & Graphs. I’ve spent 3 hours now trying to figure out how to get a simple bar graph into my spreadsheet to show how many of each Occupation were in this big dump of data I have. I’ve yet to figure it out as what I end up getting is some weird combined row crap or some numbers that don’t represent squat. Older versions of excel had VERY easy and quick ways of getting simple charts in place and a wizard to help you drag and drop stuff if you needed to switch it. The new program may be great for excel “experts” but is a load of crap for someone trying to do something quick and simple without having to study for 2 weeks just to grasp simple concepts. This “tutorial” is great for prettying up existing charts but doesn’t tell you how to make them.

    • Try adding a scatter chart with two columns that are not adjacent to each other. Then try to have the x axis formatted in date format. WOW. What a piece of crap. Newer isn’t always better.

    • Idiot… you obviously don’t know Excel. The 2010 version of Excel is arguably the best application Microsoft has ever come up with… idiots just don’t know how to use it. Damn idiot… go play with lego you idiot!

    • lets see… older versions of office you clicked one button and it stepped you through the graph process, chart type, axis titles, formatting etc. Office 2010 throws the chart up with nothing on it so know you have to go search through the cluster F&*K of a ribbon to find where each one of those items are hidden. Im an advanced user for the biggest computer manufacturer and I can do everything 10 times faster in office 2003. The ribbon and removal of chart wizards stepping you through necessary items is ridiculous. Its only advantage is how it saves files compared to 2003 which makes file sizes much smaller.

    • Uhm.. a little overkill with the word idiot, you’re just an average dumbass trying to act smart. So how bout YOU go play with your legos, mmkay?

    • You know you’re trying to act smart when you say idiot 4 times in 3 lines…and your name is “ExcelGod”.

    • Have you ever heard of making fun of people by pretending to be them and acting stupid? yeah, that just happened, it wasn’t serious.

    • If you are so smart “ExcelGod” and the rest are such “idiots”, then why wouldn’t you just explain to Megan how to do what she’s asking? I’d put my excel skills up against yours any day. Megan, and the rest, I agree – Excel 2003 was better and more intuitive than Excel 2010. Megan, if I understand correctly what you are trying to do, I think it would be best to select your data and then click on “insert” then drop the “pivot table” box down and select “Pivot Chart”. Drag occupation to the “axis fields” section and drag quantity column to the “Values” section, double click the down arrow beside what you just put in the values section and click “value field settings” and choose “count” or “sum”, etc. What ever is applicable to your data and what you are trying to do. It is easy, you just have to know where to start.

    • If that’s the best that Microsoft can do then they don’t deserve to stay in business long. Navigating your way round their tool bars is a nightmare; managing the graphical tools is even worse.

    • LOL, in case anyone missed it, ExcelGod was trolling and Mnoomey took him seriously xD. ExcelGod, WhatDidIJustRead, You’re on the internet brah, and Retardabove are all the same person. With no life and enough free time to waste some messing with a random discussion board

    • I’m with you there. I can’t figure out ANYTHING! I won’t let me add the aspects of the graph I wanted. I think they tried to make it simple for people like ExcelGod but failed miserable for the people with half a brain.

    • I totally agree.
      What kind of crackass fagots designed Office 2010 ?!

      There are hundreds
      of translucent crap weird functions but nothing new for data analyses.

      These new attractive
      design destructing from actually point of Excel -analyzing  data ! Excel 2010 is crippled  2003 with gay theme on it. What a dumb sh*t


      I do not mention Windows 8… MS is totally fu*ed up.

  32. I am behind the techi loop. How do i create a wagon wheel graph that shows the main theme as the hub and each extension of that hub as the spokes connected to the rim that connects the sub extensions of the hub. The hub is the business and the connecting spokes to the rim is the vendors, suppliers, purchasers, customers funders and the like. The rim connects the “DOTS”.
    The obviuos idea is to visualize the total networking effect generated by the hub. Does this example exist?

  33. Thanks for this great tutorial! It's awesome to see the Office community already pushing out Office 2010 content. We'd love to hear more from you at http://www.facebook.com/officeCheers,AndyMSFT Office Outreach

    • THank you so much for posting these tips! These were super helpful for me in my technlogies of instruction class at Grove City college in PA!

  34. Thanks for this great tutorial! It's awesome to see the Office community already pushing out Office 2010 content. We'd love to hear more from you at http://www.facebook.com/officeCheers,AndyMSFT Office Outreach

  35. Thanks for this great tutorial! It's awesome to see the Office community already pushing out Office 2010 content. We'd love to hear more from you at http://www.facebook.com/officeCheers,AndyMSFT Office Outreach

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