How to Make a Line Graph in Microsoft Excel

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How to Make a Line Graph in Microsoft Excel
Line graphs provide an easy method to convey data information. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A line graph provides an easy method to display information as well as compare like information from multiple periods of time or divisions. Creating a line graph in Excel is a relatively easy task, as long as you select the correct data to derive the line. Once you've got the data set, move into the creative portion of your data review by creating line graphs that best represent and convey the information from your spreadsheet.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Arrange the data in either rows or columns. Excel makes the decision as to how to best graph the line based on the data input you provide. You need at least two sets of data to create the axes for your chart. For example, build a line graph using one row or column that provides time periods, such as months or quarters, and the other row or column listing gross sales.

  2. 2

    Select the data in the rows or columns to include in the line chart. Click and drag your mouse across the data in the Excel spreadsheet to include it.

  3. 3

    Click the Insert tab and review the available types of Chart. Select "Line" from the options offered.

  4. 4

    Review the embedded chart in your spreadsheet. To move the chart to its own sheet, select it. The Chart Tools display, which adds several tabs, including Design, Format and Layout. From the Design tab, click "Move Chart," which resides in the Location group. Select "New sheet" from the "Choose where you want the chart to be placed" options.

  5. 5

    Modify the title, which defaults to "Chart1" by selecting the Layout tab. In the Properties group, click the "Chart Name." Enter the name and press the "Enter" key.

  6. 6

    Modify the layout by using a predetermined format from Excel. Select the line chart. The Chart Tools become available. Select from among the options available in the Chart Layouts group from the Design tab.

  7. 7

    Add titles to the axis. Click the chart to active the Chart Tools. From the Layout tab, review the Labels group. Select "Axis Titles," and enter the axis name for the primary horizontal and vertical axes.

Tips and warnings

  • Line graphs in Microsoft Excel can display multiple lines for multiple sources of data. Provide one column of information for each type of data to include in the line graph.

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