MS Excel offers you a range of options to present your data in the most presentable formats. There are different types of charts that suit your purpose. Based on the type of data and your professional requirements, you can create a chart. Charts are handy and illustrate and present a set of related data, allowing information to be understood, compared, and analyzed. The article talks about different types of charts in Excel.
- Definition – Chart
- Characteristics of a Good Chart in Excel
- Types of charts in Excel
Definition – Chart
Now the fundamental question is – What is a chart?
A chart in Excel is a visual representation of data or values that allows us to make an interpretation or comparison visually. Charts in Excel help summarize or report large amounts of data, making it easier to interpret.
The goal of a chart in Excel is to get the information displayed in a way that everyone can understand. It allows us to interpret reports and analyze complex data easily.
In this sense, the characteristics of a good graph in Excel are:
- Visually explain the values or data that we want to analyze
- It should be self-explanatory and easy to understand
- The graph’s content should be explained through legends
- It should be immaculate, without elements or colours that generate distractions
Types of Charts in Excel
Choosing between the different types of charts in Excel to display information correctly is essential. Each chart type presents data differently, the choice of the chart should be planned correctly.
This type of graph emphasizes the variations of the data over time. The data categories will appear on the horizontal axis and the values will appear on the vertical axis. Column charts are similar to bar charts. The main difference is that the categories appear on the vertical axis in bar charts.
A line chart shows the relationships of changes in data. This chart is similar to area charts. The line charts emphasize trends in the data and not the change amounts like area charts.
These graphs can contain a single data series. They show the percentages of each of the parts for the total.
A bar chart emphasizes the comparison between items in a specific period. This chart type includes cones, cylinders, and pyramids.
Area charts suggest that the values are important over time. An area chart is like a line chart. However, since the area between the lines is filled in, the area chart places greater importance on the magnitude of the values than a line chart.
XY Plots (Scatter)
Scatter plots help show the relationship between different data points. This type of chart uses numeric values for both axes instead of categories on either axis as in previous charts.
Types of scatter plots -Scatter with smooth lines and markers, Scatter chart with smooth lines, Scatter with straight lines and markers, Scatter chart with straight lines, Bubble chart, and 3-D Bubble
Stock charts are also called candlestick charts. They represent the price performance of a stock or a stock market index. They are easy to use. In each candlestick, you can see the opening market price of the action together with the closing price. In addition, the color indicates whether the price has risen or fallen.
Types of Stock Charts
Treemap allows you to see the distribution of data for one variable, just like pie charts. The data is represented in the form of rectangles.
Solar Burst Chart
A solar burst chart allows you to display hierarchical data in the form of a circle. Each data is displayed in a ring, with the inner circles being the hierarchy superior to the outer circles.
In the above chart, it is evident that the number of transit buses was the highest in 2020, represented by the biggest share in the ring.
Box and whisker chart
Box and whisker chart is a type of chart in excel that allows you to see the symmetry of the data distribution. It will enable graphing in a standardized way the minimum, maximum value, the three distribution quartiles, the interquartile range, the median, the atypical data, and the range without atypical data. The following graph represents monthly expenditure distribution from a personal dataset.
You can create a waterfall chart for analysis of the evolution of a variable in data of the period and accumulated data. The following example talks about a company's net income. The Waterfall chart is color-coded in Blue and Orange. Here, orange denotes the amount spent, and blue denotes the revenues earned and the overall profit made by the company.
A combo chart or combination chart is an interesting feature of Excel. It allows you to insert more than one typology in the same graph with two axes, which is beneficial for comparing variables.
The above example shows the marks obtained by a group of students against the maximum marks (100). The red bar on the X-axis denotes the maximum marks and the blue bars denote the marks obtained by the students.
Other types of charts
Although they are not available by default in Excel to make them automatically, it is possible to build several kinds of charts manually, such as the speedometer, progress, or population pyramid graphs. These are achieved by combining two types of graphics or more into one and hiding a part of them to finish giving the desired appearance.
Hope you find this article interesting, I will be individually covering the different types of charts in my next set of articles and how to use them through different datasets.
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FAQs - Types of Charts in Excel
How can I create a combination chart in Excel?
To create a combination chart, select your data, insert a chart (e.g., a bar chart), right-click on the data series you want to change, and select "Change Chart Type." Then, choose the desired chart type for that series.
What is the difference between a stacked bar chart and a clustered bar chart?
In a clustered bar chart, bars for each data category are grouped side by side, while in a stacked bar chart, bars for each category are stacked on top of each other, showing the cumulative total.
How do I add data labels to my Excel charts?
You can add data labels to your Excel charts by selecting the chart, right-clicking on a data point, and choosing "Add Data Labels" or by going to the Chart Elements button and selecting "Data Labels."
What is the importance of choosing the right chart type in Excel?
Selecting the right chart type is crucial because it determines how effectively your data is communicated. The wrong chart type can lead to confusion or misinterpretation of your data, so choosing the most suitable one for your specific data and message is essential.