How to make an ogive in Excel

Written by stephen byron cooper Google
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How to make an ogive in Excel
Excel is a good tool for generating ogive lines. (Courtesy of Microsoft)

An ogive chart shows a series of data as a line. Frequencies of observations are plotted on the graph. These are cumulative frequencies, so each successive point on the line is an accumulation of all previous points. Excel is very good at generating graphs out of data entered into a spreadsheet. You can easily create an ogive chart with Excel. Your source data will show the number of incidences of a range of data for example, in a group of people how many people fall into each age range.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open Excel to get a clean, new spreadsheet page. Set up your data in columns. In this example, use ages of people in a group. Type the words “Range,” “Freq,” “Age” and “Cumulative Frequency” (without the quotes) in cells A1, B1, C1 and D1.

  2. 2

    Enter age ranges in column A from A2 to A8: “0 – 9,” “10 – 19,” “20 – 29,” “30 – 39,” “40 – 49,” “50 – 59,” “60 – 69.” In the B column set up the frequency data as 7, 2, 9, 12, 10, 5, 2. The C column contains the upper limit of each range. So enter 9, 19, 29, 39, 49, 59 and 69 in this column. In the D column, calculate the cumulative frequency. In D2 enter “=B2” (without the quotes). In D3 enter “=B3+D2” (without the quotes). Press return to save this data and then click back in D3. Click on the small square in the bottom right hand corner of the cell and stretch the frame down to include D8. This will copy and adjusted the formula into all the cells in the column.

  3. 3

    Use the Age and Cumulative Frequency columns as the source data for your graph. Click in cell C1 and hold the left mouse button down as you drag a frame around the data to include cell D8. This will highlight the two columns.

  4. 4

    Select “Insert from the menu bar and select the “Scatter” chart option. In the drop down list select the second option in the second row which is “Scatter with Straight Lines and Markers.” This will generate your ogive line.

  5. 5

    Click on the graph and select “Layout” from the menu bar. Click on “Axis Titles” and go to “Primary Horizontal Axis Title.” Click on “Title Below Axis” and type “Age Endpoints” (without the quotes). Press the “Enter” key to save this title. Click on “Axis Titles” again and go to “Primary Vertical Axis Title.” Click on “Rotated Title” and type in “No. Of People” (without the quotes). Press the “Enter” key. If you want to change the title of the chart, double click on the current title and type the new title in the formula bar. Press return to apply the new title to the chart.

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