Excel 2003 Line Graph Tutorial

01
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Overview of Excel 2003 Chart Wizard

Excel 2003 Line Graph Tutorial
Excel 2003 Line Graph Tutorial. © Ted French

This tutorial covers the steps to creating a line graph in Excel 2003 using the Excel Chart Wizard.

Completing the steps in the topics below will produce a line graph similar to the image above.

02
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Entering the Line Graph Data

Entering the Line Graph Data
Entering the Line Graph Data. © Ted French

No matter what type of chart or graph you are creating, the first step in creating an Excel chart is always to enter the data into the worksheet.

When entering the data, keep these rules in mind:

  1. Don't leave blank rows or columns when entering your data.
  2. Enter your data in columns.
  • When laying out your spreadsheet, list the names describing the data in one column and, to the right of that, the data itself.
  • If there is more than one data series, list them one after the other in columns with the title for each data series at the top.

Tutorial Steps

  1. Enter the data as seen in the image above into cells A1 to C6.
03
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Selecting the Line Graph Data

Selecting the Line Graph Data
Selecting the Line Graph Data. © Ted French

Using the mouse

  1. Drag select with the mouse button to highlight the cells containing the data to be included in the graph.

Using the keyboard

  1. Click on the top left of the graph data.
  2. Hold down the SHIFT key on the keyboard.
  3. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select the data to be included in the line graph.

Note: Be sure to select any column and row headings that you want to be included in the graph.

Tutorial Steps

  1. Highlight the block of cells from A2 to C6, which includes the column titles and the row headings using one of the above methods.
04
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Starting the Chart Wizard

The Chart Wizard Icon on the Standard Toolbar
The Chart Wizard Icon on the Standard Toolbar. © Ted French

You have two choices for starting the Excel Chart Wizard.

  1. Click on the Chart Wizard icon on the standard toolbar (see image example above)
  2. Click on Insert > Chart... in the menus.

Tutorial Steps

  1. Start the Chart Wizard using the method you prefer.
05
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The Excel Chart Wizard Step 1

The Excel Chart Wizard Step 1
The Excel Chart Wizard Step 1. © Ted French

Pick a Chart on the Standard Tab

  1. Pick a Chart type from the left panel.
  2. Pick a chart sub-type from the right panel.

Tutorial Steps

  1. Choose the Line chart type in the left-hand pane.
  2. Choose the Line with markers chart sub-type in the right right-hand
  3. Click Next.
06
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The Excel Chart Wizard Step 2

The Excel Chart Wizard Step 2
The Excel Chart Wizard Step 2. © Ted French

Preview your Chart

  • Having selected your data before starting the Excel Chart Wizard, you should see an example of your chart in the top window of the dialog box.
  • On your spreadsheet, the data that has been included in the chart is surrounded by the marching ants -- the animated black border around your data.
  • Below the preview window is a box containing the cell references of the data range included in the chart. If your chart doesn't look right, check to make sure you selected the right data range in the spreadsheet.

Tutorial Steps

  1. Click Next.
07
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The Excel Chart Wizard Step 3

The Excel Chart Wizard Step 3
The Excel Chart Wizard Step 3. © Ted French

Chart Options

Although there are many options under the six tabs for modifying the appearance of your chart, in this step, we will only be adding the titles.

All parts of an Excel chart can be modified after you have completed the Chart Wizard, so it is not necessary to make all of your formatting options right now.

Tutorial Steps

  1. Click on the Titles tab at the top of the Chart Wizard dialog box.
  2. In the Chart title box, type the title: Average Precipitation for Acapulco and Amsterdam.
  3. In the Category (X) axis box, type: Month.
  4. In the Category (Y) axis box, type: Precipitation (mm) (Note: mm = millimeters).
  5. When the chart in the preview window looks right, click Next.

Note: As you type the titles, they should be added to the preview window to the right

08
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The Excel Chart Wizard Step 4

The Excel Chart Wizard Step 4
The Excel Chart Wizard Step 4. © Ted French

Graph Location

There are only two choices for where you want to place your graph:

  1. As a new sheet (places the chart on a different worksheet from your workbook)
  2. As an object in sheet 1 (places the chart on the same sheet as your data in the workbook)

Tutorial Steps

  1. Click the radio button to place the graph as an object in sheet 1.
  2. Click Finish.

A basic line graph is created and placed on your worksheet. The following pages cover formatting this graph to match the line graph shown in Step 1 of this tutorial.

09
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Formatting the Line Graph

Formatting the Line Graph
Formatting the Line Graph. © Ted French

Place the graph title on two lines

  1. Click once with the mouse pointer anywhere on the graph title to highlight it.
  2. Click a second time with the mouse pointer right in front of the word Acapulco to locate the insertion point.
  3. Press the ENTER key on the keyboard to divide the graph title into two lines.

Change the background color of the graph

  1. Right-click once with the mouse pointer anywhere on the white background of the graph to open the drop down menu.
  2. Click with the mouse pointer on the first option in the menu: Format Chart Area to open the Format Chart Area dialog box.
  3. Click on the Patterns tab to select it.
  4. In the Area section, click on a colored square to select it.
  5. For this tutorial, select the light yellow color at the bottom of the dialog box.
  6. Click OK.

Change the background color/remove the border from the legend

  1. Right -click once with the mouse pointer anywhere on the background of the graph's legend to open the drop down menu.
  2. Click with the mouse pointer on the first option in the menu: Format Legend to open the Format Legend dialog box.
  3. Click on the Patterns tab to select it.
  4. In the Border section on the left of the dialog box, click on the None option to remove the border.
  5. In the Area section, click on a colored square to select it.
  6. For this tutorial, select the light yellow color at the bottom of the dialog box.
  7. Click OK.
10
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Formatting the Line Graph (Continued)

Excel 2003 Line Graph Tutorial
Excel 2003 Line Graph Tutorial. © Ted French

Change the color/remove the border of the plot area

  1. Right -click once with the mouse pointer anywhere on the gray plot are of the graph to open the drop down menu.
  2. Click with the mouse pointer on the first option in the menu: Format Plot Area to open the Format Plot Area dialog box.
  3. Click on the Patterns tab to select it.
  4. In the Border section on the left of the dialog box, click on the None option to remove the border.
  5. In the Area section to the right, click on a colored square to select it.
  6. For this tutorial, select the light yellow color at the bottom of the dialog box.
  7. Click OK.

Remove the Y axis

  1. Right -click once with the mouse pointer on the Y axis (the vertical line next to the precipitation amounts) of the graph to open the drop down menu.
  2. Click with the mouse pointer on the first option in the menu: Format Axis to open the Format Axis dialog box.
  3. Click on the Patterns tab to select it.
  4. In the Lines section on the left of the dialog box, click on the None option to remove the axis line.
  5. Click OK.

At this point, your graph should match the line graph shown in Step 1 of this tutorial.