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How to Plot Multiple Lines on an Excel Graph

Graphs in Excel are referred to as charts. From version 2007 onwards, Microsoft removed the chart wizard, which was seen as a backward step by some users. However, making a chart in Excel is still possible. As of March 2013, Microsoft prefers users to “Create a chart from start to finish.”

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  1. Run Excel. Open your workbook. To plot multiple lines on an Excel graph, you will need at least two columns or rows of data. If you have only one column or row of data, add at least one other. Alternatively, open another workbook that has more than one column or row of data.

  2. Click in a filled cell at the end of a column or row and hold the mouse button down. Drag across and up or down to highlight all the cells you wish to incorporate in the chart, or graph. Include the titles on rows and columns to create a key from these items. Release the mouse button.

  3. Click on the “Insert” tab. Click “Chart.” Choose “Line.” Make a selection from the available chart options in the “Chart sub-type:” panel. These are: line, stacked line, 100% stacked line, line with markers, stacked line with markers, 100% stacked line with markers and 3-D line. Click one of the options to select it.

  4. Use the chart wizard, if you are using Excel 2003, to add a title and axes labels after your chart has drawn. Click your chart to select it then click the chart wizard button on the standard toolbar. Click "Next" and "Next" to get to step three. At step three, add your chart title, category (X) axis label and value (Y) axis label in the text boxes. For later versions of Excel, you have to add these items manually. Click in the chart anywhere to bring up the chart tools. Click the “Chart Title” button. Enter your title in the text box. Click the "Axis Titles" button to add axis titles, or axis labels, in the same way.

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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.

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