Excel Charts - Types


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Excel provides you different types of charts that suit your purpose. Based on the type of data, you can create a chart. You can also change the chart type later.

Excel offers the following major chart types −

  • Column Chart
  • Line Chart
  • Pie Chart
  • Doughnut Chart
  • Bar Chart
  • Area Chart
  • XY (Scatter) Chart
  • Bubble Chart
  • Stock Chart
  • Surface Chart
  • Radar Chart
  • Combo Chart

Each of these chart types have sub-types. In this chapter, you will have an overview of the different chart types and get to know the sub-types for each chart type.

Column Chart

A Column Chart typically displays the categories along the horizontal (category) axis and values along the vertical (value) axis. To create a column chart, arrange the data in columns or rows on the worksheet.

A column chart has the following sub-types −

  • Clustered Column.
  • Stacked Column.
  • 100% Stacked Column.
  • 3-D Clustered Column.
  • 3-D Stacked Column.
  • 3-D 100% Stacked Column.
  • 3-D Column.

Line Chart

Line charts can show continuous data over time on an evenly scaled Axis. Therefore, they are ideal for showing trends in data at equal intervals, such as months, quarters or years.

In a Line chart −

  • Category data is distributed evenly along the horizontal axis.
  • Value data is distributed evenly along the vertical axis.

To create a Line chart, arrange the data in columns or rows on the worksheet.

A Line chart has the following sub-types −

  • Line
  • Stacked Line
  • 100% Stacked Line
  • Line with Markers
  • Stacked Line with Markers
  • 100% Stacked Line with Markers
  • 3-D Line

Pie Chart

Pie charts show the size of items in one data series, proportional to the sum of the items. The data points in a pie chart are shown as a percentage of the whole pie. To create a Pie Chart, arrange the data in one column or row on the worksheet.

A Pie Chart has the following sub-types −

  • Pie
  • 3-D Pie
  • Pie of Pie
  • Bar of Pie

Doughnut Chart

A Doughnut chart shows the relationship of parts to a whole. It is similar to a Pie Chart with the only difference that a Doughnut Chart can contain more than one data series, whereas, a Pie Chart can contain only one data series.

A Doughnut Chart contains rings and each ring representing one data series. To create a Doughnut Chart, arrange the data in columns or rows on a worksheet.

Bar Chart

Bar Charts illustrate comparisons among individual items. In a Bar Chart, the categories are organized along the vertical axis and the values are organized along the horizontal axis. To create a Bar Chart, arrange the data in columns or rows on the Worksheet.

A Bar Chart has the following sub-types −

  • Clustered Bar
  • Stacked Bar
  • 100% Stacked Bar
  • 3-D Clustered Bar
  • 3-D Stacked Bar
  • 3-D 100% Stacked Bar

Area Chart

Area Charts can be used to plot the change over time and draw attention to the total value across a trend. By showing the sum of the plotted values, an area chart also shows the relationship of parts to a whole. To create an Area Chart, arrange the data in columns or rows on the worksheet.

An Area Chart has the following sub-types −

  • Area
  • Stacked Area
  • 100% Stacked Area
  • 3-D Area
  • 3-D Stacked Area
  • 3-D 100% Stacked Area

XY (Scatter) Chart

XY (Scatter) charts are typically used for showing and comparing numeric values, like scientific, statistical, and engineering data.

A Scatter chart has two Value Axes −

  • Horizontal (x) Value Axis
  • Vertical (y) Value Axis

It combines x and y values into single data points and displays them in irregular intervals, or clusters. To create a Scatter chart, arrange the data in columns and rows on the worksheet.

Place the x values in one row or column, and then enter the corresponding y values in the adjacent rows or columns.

Consider using a Scatter chart when −

  • You want to change the scale of the horizontal axis.

  • You want to make that axis a logarithmic scale.

  • Values for horizontal axis are not evenly spaced.

  • There are many data points on the horizontal axis.

  • You want to adjust the independent axis scales of a scatter chart to reveal more information about data that includes pairs or grouped sets of values.

  • You want to show similarities between large sets of data instead of differences between data points.

  • You want to compare many data points regardless of the time.

    • The more data that you include in a scatter chart, the better the comparisons you can make.

A Scatter chart has the following sub-types −

  • Scatter

  • Scatter with Smooth Lines and Markers

  • Scatter with Smooth Lines

  • Scatter with Straight Lines and Markers

  • Scatter with Straight Lines

Bubble Chart

A Bubble chart is like a Scatter chart with an additional third column to specify the size of the bubbles it shows to represent the data points in the data series.

A Bubble chart has the following sub-types −

  • Bubble
  • Bubble with 3-D effect

Stock Chart

As the name implies, Stock charts can show fluctuations in stock prices. However, a Stock chart can also be used to show fluctuations in other data, such as daily rainfall or annual temperatures.

To create a Stock chart, arrange the data in columns or rows in a specific order on the worksheet. For example, to create a simple high-low-close Stock chart, arrange your data with High, Low, and Close entered as Column headings, in that order.

A Stock chart has the following sub-types −

  • High-Low-Close
  • Open-High-Low-Close
  • Volume-High-Low-Close
  • Volume-Open-High-Low-Close

Surface Chart

A Surface chart is useful when you want to find the optimum combinations between two sets of data. As in a topographic map, colors and patterns indicate areas that are in the same range of values.

To create a Surface chart −

  • Ensure that both the categories and the data series are numeric values.
  • Arrange the data in columns or rows on the worksheet.

A Surface chart has the following sub-types −

  • 3-D Surface
  • Wireframe 3-D Surface
  • Contour
  • Wireframe Contour

Radar Chart

Radar charts compare the aggregate values of several data series. To create a Radar chart, arrange the data in columns or rows on the worksheet.

A Radar chart has the following sub-types −

  • Radar
  • Radar with Markers
  • Filled Radar

Combo Chart

Combo charts combine two or more chart types to make the data easy to understand, especially when the data is widely varied. It is shown with a secondary axis and is even easier to read. To create a Combo chart, arrange the data in columns and rows on the worksheet.

A Combo chart has the following sub-types −

  • Clustered Column – Line
  • Clustered Column – Line on Secondary Axis
  • Stacked Area – Clustered Column
  • Custom Combination


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