Microsoft Excel

Charting a Table

You can use the Excel table feature with charts. Tables and charts make a perfect match. Tables grow and shrink dynamically in size as you add or delete records. If a chart's bound to a table, the chart updates itself as you add new information or remove old data.

If you've already created the chart with an ordinary range of cells, you can still use a table, all you need to do is convert the linked range to a table.

  1. Select the range of cells that contain all the data, not including the chart's title
  2. Select Insert > Tables > Table.

Now, as you add new items to the table, Excel adds them to the chart immediately.

When you chart a table, you also gain the ability to use other features, like easier sorting and filtering. You can use sorting to determine the order that items appear within a chart (which is occasionally useful), and you can use filtering to hide rows and to chart only a portion of the data (which is often indispensable). If you apply a filter condition that shows only the three best performing regions, the chart updates itself so that it shows only this data.

Changing the Chart Type

Changing a chart’s type is an easy procedure, so you can experiment with various chart types until you find the one that represents your data accurately, clearly, and as simply as possible. When you create a chart, you choose a specific chart type. However, in many situations you may want to try several different chart types with the same data to see which visualization tells your story better. Excel makes this sort of experimentation easy. All you need to do is click your chart to select it, and then make a different choice from the ribbon's Insert > Charts section. You can use this technique to transform a column chart into a pie chart.

You can also choose Chart Tools : Design > Type > Change Chart Type to make a choice from the Change Chart Type dialog box.