Microsoft Excel

Add and Edit Chart Data

Every chart remains linked to the source data you used to create it. When you alter the data in your worksheet, Excel refreshes the chart with the new information automatically. As long as Excel is set to automatic recalculations (and it almost always is), there's no such thing as an out-of-date chart.

Excel's got no restriction on linking multiple charts to the same data. So, you can create two different types of charts (like a pie and a column chart) that show the same data. You can even create one chart that plots all the data and another chart that just uses a portion of the same information.

Any range you define for use in a chart is static, which means it doesn't grow as your data grows. That means that if you add a new row at the bottom of the range, it doesn't appear on the chart because it's outside of the chart range. If you do want to insert additional data to a range of data used in a chart, you have several options:

  • You can use the Home > Cells > Insert > Insert Sheet Rows command. If you do, Excel notices the change, and automatically expands the range to include the newly inserted row. However, this command works only if you add a row into the middle of your data. If you try to tack a row onto the end, Excel still ignores it, and you'll need to use the solution described in the next bullet point.
  • After you insert new rows, you can modify the chart range to include the new data. This approach is the most common, and it's quite painless. First, select your chart by clicking the edge of the chart box, or a blank space in the chart. Excel highlights the linked worksheet data with a colored border. Click this colored border, and drag it until it includes all the new data you want. When you release the mouse button, Excel refreshes the chart with the new information.

Excel is smart enough to adjust your chart range in some situations. If you drag your chart data to a new place on your worksheet, Excel updates the chart to match automatically.