How to do a calibration curve on excel

Written by julie revel
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How to do a calibration curve on excel
Microsoft Excel can create calibration curves using a scatter plot with linear regression. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Biological and chemical assays use calibration curves to establish the concentration of a substance, which is based upon a series of standard samples using a linear regression analysis to determine accuracy. The researcher selects a set of concentrations to serve as the X variable in an X-Y graph. The selected concentrations are often on a logarithmic or exponential scale to provide standards. The solutions then run through the equipment, giving a set of Y outputs that when plotted against the X variables create a calibration curve. Once a calibration curve is established, future samples of unknown concentrations can be plotted using the Y output to determine the initial X variable, which is the concentration of the solution.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Microsoft Excel 2007
  • Experimental data

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  1. 1

    Run a set of known X variables through the equipment to produce a series of Y outputs.

  2. 2

    Open Microsoft Excel. In cell A1 type "concentration." In cell B1 type "output" or the appropriate unit of measure for your experiment.

  3. 3

    Enter experimental concentrations for the X variable in column A, starting at A2.

  4. 4

    Enter experimental outputs for the Y variable in column B, starting at B2

  5. 5

    Highlight entire data set.

  6. 6

    Click the "Insert" ribbon.

  7. 7

    Click the "Scatter" button and select the "Scatter plot with markers and straight lines." The graph should now appear and the Excel ribbon should default to design view.

  8. 8

    Click on the graph. In the Design ribbon under "Chart layouts," select "Layout 9." The calibration curve is complete. A y=mx+b equation will appear in the graph along with the R2 value.

Tips and warnings

  • X and Y axis labels can be changed to provide more detail about the sample.
  • Other design features such as adding title, changing graph colour and text size can be found in the Design ribbon.

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