How To Create A Line Graph In Excel: Step-By-Step Guide

Key Takeaway:

  • Choosing the right data is crucial in creating an effective line graph in Excel. Be deliberate about the data you include to make sure it accurately communicates the message you want to convey.
  • Creating a line graph in Excel is a simple and straightforward process. With just a few clicks, you can select your data and generate a graph that is easy to read and understand.
  • Formatting your graph is essential to make it visually appealing and easy to understand. Adding axis labels, a title and legend, and gridlines and data markers help highlight key information and make your graph more impactful.

Are you struggling to understand how to create a line graph in Excel? Here is a step-by-step guide to help you visualize data and discover patterns more easily. With this guide, you can become a pro in making line graphs in no time.

How to Create a Line Graph in Excel: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to data visualization, line graphs are what many analysts and researchers use. Excel makes creating a line graph simple. In this guide, we’ll show you the steps to creating a line graph. First, select the right data for your graph. Next, input and organize that data in an Excel spreadsheet. Finally, you’ll know how to make a line graph with ease.

Choosing the Right Data to Include in Your Graph

Choosing the right data for your graph is essential. Here’s a guide to get it right:

  1. Identify the purpose: Establish the message you want to express. This helps pick the most important info.
  2. Choose relevant data: Filter the relevant data for your chart. Delete any irrelevant columns or rows.
  3. Be consistent: Ensure all data matches. Check for missing values and errors.
  4. Organize: Make sure each row & column has proper headers. Categorize your data for easy identification.
  5. Analyze trends: See how individual sets of data differ over time. Reduce noise, increase clarity.

Understanding why this matters: Inaccurate graphs can lead to wrong decisions – costly ones. Don’t take chances!

Next goal: Entering data into an Excel Spreadsheet naturally.

Entering Your Data into an Excel Spreadsheet

Creating a line graph in Excel is simple! Just follow these five steps:

  1. Open a new Excel workbook and create a worksheet. Label the rows with categories, like “Year” or “Sales“. Label the columns with specific data points.
  2. Enter all your data into the cells. Double check for typos or formatting errors.
  3. Highlight the cells with your data. Click on the “Insert” tab. Under “Charts“, select “Line“. This will generate a basic line graph.
  4. Make any adjustments to the graph for presentation. Add titles, change colors and adjust axis ranges.
  5. Pro Tip: Save a template worksheet with headers and categories for easy copy-pasting of data. Now you can create a line graph with ease!

Creating Your Line Graph

Line graphs are great for showing trends through time. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get one in Excel.

  1. First, pick the data you want to display.
  2. Then, insert the line chart.
  3. But that’s not all! There are different types of line graphs in Excel. We’ll look at which type works best with your data, and how to choose it.

Let’s begin!

Selecting the Data to Use in Your Graph

To help with selecting the data, here’s a quick 3-step guide:

  1. Open Excel and arrange the data into rows and columns.
  2. Pick the range of cells that have your data for the line graph.
  3. Include headers for each column, so Excel can label your graph automatically.

Once you’ve selected your data set, it’s time to format and customize your line graph.

  • Select data that only relates to variables that need comparison over a period or across groups. For instance, only select columns for monthly sales figures of different products, not cost price or profit margins.
  • Choose one or more variables to show up in the graph. Make sure they highlight specific trends or elements in the dataset.
  • Avoid cluttering by selecting only essential information for the line chart. This means avoiding areas with high noise, such as periods with missing records.

Next up is navigating to the ‘Insert’ Tab and selecting ‘Line’.

Navigating to the ‘Insert’ Tab and Selecting ‘Line’

Navigate to the ‘Insert’ tab on the upper ribbon section of the Excel screen. Find the ‘Charts’ group. Click it to uncover all graph types. Select the ‘Line’ option for line graphs. Choose a style previewed with a description and thumbnail image. Select one and hit ‘OK’ to generate the graph.

Adjust details like font design or colors from the menus. It took me five minutes to learn how to make my first line graph after reading a tutorial! Need to find the best fit? Explore different types of line graphs.

Exploring Different Types of Line Graphs to Find the Best Fit

To make your data accurately represented in a line graph, it’s essential to analyze the different types. Here’s a guideline with three steps:

  1. Identify Your Data Categories: First, decide which type of line graph will best fit your data categories. Examples are basic line graphs, stacked area graphs, multiple axis charts and percentile-based charts.
  2. Choose A Template: Now select a template for your line graph from software like Excel. These have pre-built templates for each type.
  3. Customize The Template: Personalize the template with colors, font sizes, and styles.

When exploring types of line graphs, consider what you want to display and the audience. For example, a basic line graph works great for data over time, while another type of graph better displays multiple variables across time.

Plus, certain visualizations make patterns or trends simpler to detect. The type of graph depends on the complexity and type of data.

A 2017 Microsoft study on Excel users’ chart preferences showed sixty-four percent chose Line charts more than any other.

Finally, ‘Formatting Your Graph‘ will show you how to enhance your Line Graphs without extra complexity.

Formatting Your Graph

This part of our guide shows you how to format your line graph in Excel. It’ll affect how people perceive the data. We’ll focus on three aspects:

  1. Labeling axes to be clear.
  2. Changing the title and legend to help understanding.
  3. Adding gridlines and data markers to highlight important info.

By the end, you’ll have a graph that displays your data in the best way.

Adjusting Your Graph’s Axis Labels for Clarity

Click on one of the axis labels. Right-click and choose “Format Axis“. Look for “Axis Options” in the Format Axis pane in Excel 2016. Then, expand “Text Options“. Change font size or rotate angle by changing the degrees specified.

You can also use other options in this page. For example, “Alignment” helps you choose how the text is aligned. “Tick Marks” helps you manage tick marks’ length. And “Number” formats numeric axes more precisely.

Avoid long-axis labels. Abbreviations should be explained to help users understand them. Also, keep labels short to not interfere with other chart elements.

Pro Tip: Copy formatting from one axis label to another. Right-click on the label with the formatting. Choose ‘copy’. Then highlight all other labels (Ctrl+A). Right-click any one of them. Select ‘paste’.

You have set up your graph axes. Now, understand how Changing Your Graph’s Title and Legend can make visualization better. Click!

Changing Your Graph’s Title and Legend for Better Understanding

To make your graph clearer, you must include a title and legend. Here’s a 6-step guide for changing them:

  1. Double-click the chart title or legend you want to modify.
  2. Go to the ‘Format’ tab. Click ‘Chart Elements’ and select titles/legend.
  3. Click on the chart title field and rename it.
  4. To edit the legend text, click each item and type new labeling in the ‘Series Options.’
  5. To make it more legible, choose font size and color under ‘Format Options.’
  6. Finish by clicking outside the panel.

These steps will create an understandable graph that displays data well.
It’s important to make graphs attractive and useful to readers.
Did you know that according to Hubspot, using graphs in marketing boosts engagement by 32%?

In Excel, adding gridlines and data markers to a line graph is a great way to showcase key information.

Adding Gridlines and Data Markers to Highlight Key Information

Make your data stand out more and easier to read. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the chart you want to edit.
  2. From the ‘Design’ tab, click ‘Add Chart Element’.
  3. Select either Gridlines or Data Labels, and customize.

Gridlines help show data flow over time. Data markers give extra info about data points. You can choose to use both, or just one. It makes trends easier to spot and specific details clear.

My friend had a work presentation with tons of stats. It was hard to understand without a graph. But when he added gridlines and data markers, it became simpler for everyone to understand the report.

The next step is exporting the graph – we’ll talk more about that soon.

Exporting Your Graph

We’re almost done talking about making line graphs in Excel. It’s essential to know how to export and share your graph. The data you’ve made visible won’t be helpful unless you can communicate it to others. Now, we’ll check out three methods for exporting your graph. Need to save it as a picture? Or maybe copy and paste it? Or keep the quality by exporting it as a PDF? We have it all covered! Let’s get started!

Saving Your Graph as an Image File for Easy Sharing

If you need to share your graph but don’t have access to Excel, you can save it as an image file. Here’s a 3-step guide:

  1. Select your graph.
  2. Right-click and hover over “Save Picture As.”
  3. Choose where you want to save the image and select a file type (JPEG, PNG, or GIF).

Share the image via email or social media. Be aware that formatting may change depending on the file type. Make sure the quality is high enough to be read clearly.

I once had to make a line graph for school. After designing it in Excel, I needed to present it without my laptop. I exported it as an image and put it in my presentation – it worked perfectly and saved me time.

If you need to copy your graph into other documents, you can also do that.

Copying and Pasting Your Graph into Other Documents


Select the graph you wish to export. Press Ctrl+C or right-click and select Copy from the menu. Open the document where you’d like to paste the graph. Place your cursor and press Ctrl+V or right-click and select Paste from the menu.

Your graph is now in the document. You can adjust it by resizing it. Hold down the Shift key while dragging one of its corners to maintain the aspect ratio. Select only a portion of the chart if you want to copy that instead.

Don’t overdo the changes — text wrap or add relevant data charts instead. This way, you can share data-driven insights with clarity.

Exporting Your Graph as a PDF to Maintain Quality and Formatting

Exporting your graph as a PDF is essential to keep quality and formatting when sharing with others who may not have access to the original Excel file. Here’s a 6-step guide:

  1. Select the chart or graph to be exported.
  2. Go to the “File” tab and click on “Export.”
  3. In the dropdown menu, select “Create PDF/XPS Document.”
  4. In the “Save As” window, choose where to save your PDF file and give it a name.
  5. Click the “Options” button and make sure the “Document structure tags for accessibility” checkbox is unchecked (unless accessibility is important).
  6. Click “Publish” to create your PDF file.

Exporting as a PDF guarantees all formatting and quality remain intact. It also makes it simpler for others to view and print without compatibility issues.

To further maintain quality and formatting when sharing graphs, try these:

  • Don’t use too many colors or fonts, as it could make it difficult to read or understand.
  • Avoid resizing too much as this could distort proportions and affect its appearance.

By taking these steps, you can make sure all recipients get a clear and high-quality representation of your data in an easily accessible format!

Five Facts About How To Create a Line Graph in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide:

  • ✅ Line graphs are used to show trends over time or to compare two variables. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ To create a line graph in Excel, you need to have data in a table format with headers for the columns. (Source: Microsoft Support)
  • ✅ Once you have your data in a table, select the data and choose the “Insert” tab, then select “Line” and choose the type of line graph you want to create. (Source: Vertex42)
  • ✅ You can customize your line graph by adding titles, changing the color scheme, and adjusting axis and legend settings. (Source: Ablebits)
  • ✅ Line graphs are a powerful tool for analyzing data and presenting it in a visual and easy-to-understand way. (Source: Business News Daily)

FAQs about How To Create A Line Graph In Excel: Step-By-Step Guide

What is a Line Graph and How to Create One in Excel?

A line graph is a visual representation of data that displays trends over time. It is useful for showing changes in data over a period of time. To create a line graph in Excel, follow these simple steps:

  1. Select the data you want to use for your graph.
  2. Click on the “Insert” tab and select “Line” from the charts section.
  3. Choose the type of line graph you want to create.
  4. Customize your graph by adding chart titles, axis titles and changing its colors to effectively present your data.
  5. Save your graph by clicking the “Save” button.