How to Graph a Knitting Pattern in Excel

Updated April 17, 2017

Charts are often a matter of contention among avid knitters; some people love them and some people hate them. If you are a chart lover who is dismayed to find that a pattern you like is only available in written format, it is possible to convert the written pattern instructions to a chart. You will need only a copy of Microsoft Excel and a bit of patience, and before you know it you will be knitting from an easy-to-read chart that you've created yourself.

Open a blank spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel and highlight all of the cells in the spreadsheet by clicking on the arrow at the upper left corner between the row numbers and column letters. Click on "Format" in the toolbar and adjust the height and width of the cells until they are small squares, similar to what you'd see in a printed knitting chart. While the cells are still highlighted, click the "Borders" button underneath the font menu and select "All borders."

Decide on symbols to represent the stitches in your pattern and create a legend so that you and anyone else reading your knitting chart will be able to understand it. Common knitting chart symbols include a blank cell for a knit stitch, "o" for yarn-over and "/" for knit two together, but you may use any symbols you choose.

Read the written instructions for your pattern and begin to enter each stitch into your chart, beginning at the right side and going left. After the first row is complete, input the second row above it, still going from right to left. Continue this way until you have entered every row of the pattern.

Outline the pattern repeat if there is one. Highlight the block of stitches that is to be repeated, then click on the "Borders" button and select "Thick Box Border." If you choose, you may change the colour of the border to make it stand out.

Save your chart. If you would like to convert the chart to an image file so that it may be easily e-mailed or posted online, make a screen capture of the spreadsheet by pressing the "Prt Sc" button on a PC or pressing Command, Shift and 3 on a Mac. Open an image-editing program and paste the image into it, then crop the image and save it in a format such as PNG or TIFF.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jenny Parker is a New England-based entrepreneur who has been writing since 1995. Parker writes extensively on creative self-employment and genealogy; her work has appeared on and She also has self-published several short story collections and is currently working on her first non-fiction book chronicling the history of her ancestors in America.