How to Make a Calibration Curve Graph in Excel 2007

Written by stephanie ellen
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How to Make a Calibration Curve Graph in Excel 2007
Calibration curves help you determine concentrations in a sample (chemistry image by david hughes from

A calibration curve is used in analytical chemistry to figure out the concentration of a substance in a sample, by comparing the sample to a set of predetermined data. In order to build a calibration curve in Excel 2007, you should already have your experimental data formatted in a worksheet with columns (x, y) and column headers. For example, if you want to plot absorbance vs. concentration, put your absorbance values in column A and your concentration values in column B.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Worksheet with experimental data

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  1. 1

    Highlight both columns of your data. Left-click on the top left of your data, then drag the mouse to the bottom-right of your data.

  2. 2

    Click the "Insert" ribbon.

  3. 3

    Click the "Scatter" button in the Charts section of the Insert ribbon. Click the bottom-right icon in the Scatter Plot drop-down list. The icon has squares with lines between them. The ribbon has now automatically switched to “Design,” and your plot has appeared on screen.

  4. 4

    Click “Select Data,” in the Data section of the Design ribbon.

  5. 5

    Click the list item titled “Series1,” then click "Edit" right above that.

  6. 6

    Type “Calibration Curve” in the “Series Name” text box. Press "OK."

  7. 7

    Press "OK" again, and you are back on your spreadsheet with the Calibration Curve plot.

Tips and warnings

  • “Absorbance” should be the first data column, and “Concentration” should be the second column. If they are reversed, your plot axes will also be reversed.
  • The calibration curve is never exact: it only gives you an estimate of the concentration. Make sure you build in an allowance for error into your calculations.

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