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Chapter 10. Charting Spreadsheet Data  > Charting 101: Just the Basics

Charting 101: Just the Basics

At its most basic level, a chart is a picture of the data in your worksheet. You simply specify the data that you want Excel to illustrate by choosing your chart type, and then Excel does the rest. You’ll see the following elements commonly used in charts (shown in Figure 10-1):

  • Data series.

    The data series is the data you are tracking. The column or row labels are used as the labels in the chart legend.

  • Data marker.

    The data marker is the item used to represent your data graphically. In Figure 10-1, the data marker is a bar. In a pie chart, the data marker is a pie slice; in a line chart, the data marker is a point on the line for an individual data series.

  • Axes.

    The horizontal and vertical lines along the left and bottom sides of some charts (including bar, line, and area charts) are known as axes. The x-axis is the horizontal bar and the y-axis is the vertical bar. The data values in the chart are plotted in relation to the categories shown on the x-axis and y-axis.

  • Gridlines.

    The gridlines extend by default off the y-axis in some charts, giving you a visual clue about the value of individual data items. You can add gridlines and customize the ones already there by changing the increment between them or hiding them completely.

  • Chart title and axis titles.

    The title of the chart typically appears at the top of the chart. Subtitles appear along the x-axis and y-axis as applicable.

  • Legend.

    The legend advises how to read the data markers that readers see in your charts. The legend labels are taken from the data series row or column labels you select.



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