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Chapter 20. Building Charts with Excel > Creating Charts with the Chart Wizard

Creating Charts with the Chart Wizard

The Chart Wizard enables you to create a chart, step by step, and provides options along the way to help you tailor the chart. You can always go back in and modify the chart after it has been created, so don’t worry if you’ve missed something. When creating the table that will be the source information for the chart, be sure to structure the data in a manner that Excel understands (see the earlier sidebar “Structuring Your Data for Automatic Charting”). For example, create the table with the row titles in the left column and the column titles across the top, or vice versa. Include the row and column titles in the selection when creating the chart.

Setting Up the Source Table for a Chart

Don’t include cells containing totals in the selection when creating the chart. Unless you’re showing a graph with categories as a percent of the total, this will create a distorted view of the data.

It’s also a good idea not to place data in the upper-left cell of the selection you want to plot. Excel might interpret the data below or to the left of the upper-left cell as a series and plot it.

A trick exists for plotting row and column headings that are entered as numbers. For example, if you track sales over a period of years and enter year numbers for either the row or column headings, Excel plots the years as numbers. One way to avoid this problem is to place an apostrophe (') in front of each heading that Excel might interpret as a number.



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