How to Make a Graph In Word

It's not as hard as it sounds

People looking at printed graphs.

heshphoto/Image Source Collection/Getty Images

Creating a graph in Word isn't as hard as you might think, as long as you follow the instructions outlined below. This article covers Word 2010 to the most current version.

Please note that you cannot create a graph in Word Online.

How to Create a Graph in Word

Creating and customizing a graph in Word can be done by taking the following steps.

Creating a Graph on a Mac

Screenshot of Word for Mac line graph options.
  1. Open the Word document in which you want to insert a graph, or create a new document.

  2. Click on the Insert tab, located near the upper left-hand corner of the Word interface.

  3. Select the Chart button, found within the Illustrations section. 

  4. While the term "chart" is used in Word to refer to a large number of items, only some are actually considered to be graphs. A drop-down menu should now be displayed, listing several chart and graph options including Line and Statistical – which contains Histograms. Hover your mouse cursor over the type that you wish to create.

  5. A sub-menu should now appear to the right containing multiple options, including different formats and variations. After choosing the graph that you wish to insert, click on it once.

  6. Your graph will now be displayed within the body of the Word document, and a new Microsoft Excel window containing editable data in spreadsheet format will open - overlaying the main Word interface. To modify the category names and data within your newly-created chart, simply replace the existing text and numeric values with the appropriate entries. Changes made in the spreadsheet will be instantly reflected in your graph. If this window does not open automatically for any reason, click on the Edit Data in Excel button to manually launch it.

  7. Once you are satisfied with both the category names and values you can close the spreadsheet window completely. To access it again at a later time, simply click on the Edit Data or Edit Data in Excel button.

Creating a Graph in Windows

Screenshot of Word for Windows editing values of graph
  1. Open the Word document in which you want to insert a graph, or create a new document.

  2. Click on the Insert tab, located near the upper left-hand corner of the Word interface.

  3. Select the Chart button, found within the Illustrations section. 

  4. The Insert Chart dialog should now be displayed, overlaying the main document window. While the term “chart” is used in Word to refer to a large number of items, only some are actually considered to be graphs. In the left-hand menu pane you should see a long list of these items, many of them types of graphs including Line, Bar and Histogram. Select the type of graph that you wish to create by clicking on it once. 

  5. Each grouping of graphs contains multiple options, including different formats and variations. After choosing the graph that you wish to insert, click on the OK button.

  6. Your graph will now be displayed within the body of the Word document, and a new window containing editable data in spreadsheet format will open - overlaying the main Word interface. To modify the category names and data within your newly-created chart, simply replace the existing text and numeric values with the appropriate entries. Changes made in the spreadsheet will be instantly reflected in your graph. In Word 2010, a full-featured Microsoft Excel window opens instead of this miniature spreadsheet but the data editing process is similar. If this window does not open automatically for any reason, click on the Edit Data in Excel button to manually launch it.

  7. Once you are satisfied with both the category names and values you can close the spreadsheet window completely.

Tweaking the Format and Editing the Data

Screenshot of edit graph data in Word for Windows.

Now that your graph has been created you'll notice some formatting buttons or tabs positioned to its right. If they're not visible, select the chart by clicking on it once so that they appear. These settings let you modify how your graph interacts with any text around it from a layout perspective, add or remove elements in your graph including titles, labels, gridlines and a legend, tweak graph styles and colors and even apply filters to your graph. More configurable options are found in the Windows version as opposed to macOS.

To access or edit the data in the graph, simply click on the Edit Data or Edit Data in Excel button.