A time series chart is one where the horizontal axis shows the passage of time, and the vertical axis shows another variable. You might show the number of free-throws per hour at your basketball practice session, or the sales per day in your aerospace company. If you want to display time on both the horizontal axis and vertical axis, that would be a two time-series chart in Excel. For example, you might want to show the time when something started over a series of days.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Select one of the two time elements that you want to display on your time-series chart. For example, if you have a list of dates in one column, and times in another column, you would want to select all of the dates.
Click on the "Home" tab, then click on the "Number Format" drop-down menu in the "Number" section. Choose the appropriate time format for your selected data. In the example here, you would select "Date."
Select the other data range and apply the appropriate time formatting. For example, for hours, choose the "Time" format. Note that this might cause Excel to reformat things in odd ways if you didn't enter the time data in a way that it recognises. For an hour enter: "6:00 PM" or "18:00" for Excel to recognise the data. You can't use "6pm" or something similar.
Select both sections of data, then click on the "Insert" tab. Click on the "Line" button, and choose one of the chart type. The data on the left will be displayed across the horizontal axis and the right-hand data on the vertical axis.
Tips and warnings
- Use an "X Y" chart -- also called a "Scatter" chart -- if you want to show the space between the times more dynamically.
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