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How to Run a Scatter Plot in Excel Using Two Variables

Updated October 25, 2018

Scatter plots are useful in comparing numbers, especially pairs of numbers, and showing relationships between the data. You can create a scatter plot, also known as an XY-chart, in Excel using two variables, one along the x-axis and one along the y-axis. Excel combines the values for the x-axis and the y-axis and displays them as single data points in irregular intervals or clusters. Enter your data into Excel, then create your scatter plot.

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  1. Open Excel.

  2. Enter your data into two columns. The first column represents the x-axis and your first variable; the second column represents the y-axis and your second variable. Use the example of someone recording the temperature outside and how much water was consumed. In the top left cell (A1), you would type "temperature." In the cell to the right of that one (B1), you would type "water consumption." In cell A2, directly under A1, you would enter the first temperature and in B2, directly to the right, you would enter how many ounces of water was consumed.

  3. Click cell A2 and drag your mouse to the last cell holding information, while holding down the left mouse button to highlight the cells with data you want included in your scatter plot.

  4. Click the "Insert" tab at the top of your window and choose "Scatter" from the "Charts" tab.

  5. Select the chart subtype you want for your information. Chart subtypes for scatter plots include just markers, markers with smooth lines, smooth lines with no markers, markers with straight lines or straight lines with no markers. If you roll your mouse over each chart subtype, Excel gives you information on when to use each one. Your scatter plot is automatically placed as an embedded chart on your current worksheet.

  6. Click the chart to activate it if you want to move it to a separate sheet. Select "Move Chart" in the "Location" group on the "Design" tab.

  7. Click where you want the chart displayed in the "Choose where you want the chart to be placed" dialogue box. Select "New Sheet" to show the scatter plot on a new sheet. Click "Object in" and then select a worksheet to display the chart on a different worksheet.

  8. Click the chart to apply a predesigned layout.

  9. Click the "Design" tab and choose a layout you like from the "Chart Layouts" tab. Click the drop-down arrow at the end of the layouts shown to see more options.

  10. Choose a style you like from the "Chart Styles" option on the "Design" tab. If you want to see more options, click the arrow at the end of the charts shown.

  11. Click each element, "Axis Title," "Chart Title" and "Series 1," and type in the name you want for each element.

  12. Click the Microsoft Office icon in the upper left area of your screen and select "Save As." Type a name for your file and click "Save."

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About the Author

Tamara Runzel has been writing parenting, family and relationship articles since 2008. Runzel started in television news, followed by education before deciding to be a stay at home mom. She is now a mom of three and home schools her two oldest children. Runzel holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from University of the Pacific.

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