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The line's falls and rises across the graph reveal trends in your dataset: To create a line graph in Excel , , and earlier versions, please follow these steps:. A line graph requires two axes, so your table should contain at least two columns: In this example, we are going to do a single line graph , so our sample data set has the following two columns: Select the data to be included in the chart In most situations, it is sufficient to select just one cell for Excel to pick the whole table automatically.

If you'd like to plot only part of your data, select that part and be sure to include the column headers in the selection. As you hover the mouse pointer over a chart template, Excel will show you a description of that chart as well as its preview. To inset the chosen chart type in your worksheet, simply click its template. In the screenshot below, we are inserting the 2-D Line graph: Basically, your Excel line graph is ready, and you can stop at this point… unless you want to do some customizations to make it look more stylish and attractive.

How to graph multiple lines in Excel To draw a multiple line graph, perform the same steps as for creating a single line graph. However, your table must contain at least 3 columns of data: Each data series will be plotted individually. With the source data highlighted, go to the Insert tab, click the Insert Line or Area Chart icon, and then click 2-D Line or another graph type of your choosing: A multiple line graph is immediately inserted in your worksheet, and you can now compare the sales trends for different years to one another.

How to Make a Graph in Excel

When creating a multiple line chart, try to limit the number of lines to because more lines would make your graph look cluttered and hard to read. The classic 2-D line chart demonstrated above. Depending on the number of columns in your data set, Excel draws a single line chart or multiple line chart.

Stacked Line. It is designed to show how parts of a whole change over time. The lines in this graph are cumulative, meaning that each additional data series is added to the first, so the top line is the total of all the lines below it. Therefore, the lines never cross. It is similar to a stacked line chart, with the difference that the y-axis shows percentages rather than absolute values. This type is typically used to visualize a part-to-whole contribution over time. Line with Markers. The marked version of the line graph with indicators at each data point. A three-dimensional variation of the basic line graph.

The default line chart created by Excel already looks nice, but there is always room for improvement. To give your graph a unique and professional look, it makes sense to begin with the common customizations such as:. In general, you can adjust any element of your graph as explained in How to customize a chart in Excel.

While making a graph with multiple lines, you may not want to display all the lines at a time. So, you can use one of the following methods to hide or remove the irrelevant lines:. When creating a line chart with markers, Excel uses the default Circle marker type, which in my humble opinion is the best choice. If this marker option does not fit well with the design of your graph, you are free to choose another one:. If the standard color palette is not sufficient for your needs, click More Colors … and then pick any RGB color you want.

On this pane, you can also change the line type, transparency, dash type, arrow type, and more.


For example, to use a dashed line in your graph, click the Dash type drop-down box and choose the pattern you want: By default, the line graph in Excel is drawn with angles, which works fine most of the time. However, if the standard line chart is not beautiful enough for your presentation or printed materials, there is an easy way to smooth the angles of the line. Here's what you do:. In case of a multiple line chart, perform the above steps for each line individually.

The standard Excel line graph includes the horizontal gridlines that make it easier to read the values for data points. However, they do not necessarily need to be so prominently displayed. To make the gridlines less obtrusive, all you have to do is change their transparency. Here's how:. That's it! The gridlines are faded into the background of the chart where they belong: To visualize trends in a series of data located in rows, you can create a number of very small line charts that reside inside a single cell.

This can be done by using the Excel Sparkline feature please follow the above link for the detailed instructions. The result will look something similar to this: That's how you plot a line graph in Excel. I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week! Look up with multiple criteria. If you'd like to return multiple matches, you will find a solution in this tutorial: How to Vlookup to return multiple matches in Excel. E-mail not published. What is an Excel line graph? How to create a line graph in Excel How to make a multiple line graph Excel line chart types Customizing a line graph Add and remove lines in a graph Change data markers Change a line color and appearance Smooth angles of the line chart Fade out the gridlines Create a tiny line graph for each row sparklines Excel line chart graph A line graph aka line chart is a visual that displays a series of data points connected by a straight line.

When to use a line graph Line charts work well in the following situations: Good visualization of trends and changes. Of all the variety of Excel charts, a line graph is best suited for showing how different things change over time. Easy to create and read. If you are looking for a simple and intuitively clear way to visualize large and complex data, a line graph is the right choice.

Show relationships between multiple data sets. A multiple line graph can help you reveal relationships between two or more variables. When not to use a line graph There are a few cases in which a line graph is not suitable: Not suited for large data sets. Line graphs are best to be used for small data sets under 50 values.

More values would make your chart more difficult to read. Best for continuous data. If you have discrete data in separate columns, use a bar graph Not suited for percentages and proportions.

How to make a line graph in Excel

To display data as a percentage of the whole, you'd better use a pie chart or a stacked column. Not recommended for schedules. While line charts are great to show trends over a certain period, a visual view of projects scheduled over time is better done by a Gantt chart.

How to make a line graph in Excel To create a line graph in Excel , , and earlier versions, please follow these steps: Set up your data A line graph requires two axes, so your table should contain at least two columns: Excel line chart types In Microsoft Excel, the following types of the line graph are available: How to customize and improve an Excel line chart The default line chart created by Excel already looks nice, but there is always room for improvement. Enter your data. A line graph requires two axes in order to function.

Enter your data into two columns. For ease of use, set your X-axis data time in the left column and your recorded observations in the right column. For example, tracking your budget over the year would have the date in the left column and an expense in the right. Select your data. Click and drag your mouse from the top-left cell in the data group to the bottom-right cell in the data group. This will highlight all of your data. Make sure you include column headers if you have them.

Click the Insert tab. It's on the left side of the green ribbon that's at the top of the Excel window. This will open the Insert toolbar below the green ribbon.

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It's the box with several lines drawn on it in the Charts group of options. A drop-down menu will appear. Select a graph style. Hover your mouse cursor over a line graph template in the drop-down menu to see what it will look like with your data. You should see a graph window pop up in the middle of your Excel window. Click a graph style. Once you decide on a template, clicking it will create your line graph in the middle of the Excel window.

Customize your graph's design. Once you create your graph, the Design toolbar will open.

Plot line graph using Numbers in MAC.

You can change your graph's design and appearance by clicking one of the variations in the "Chart Styles" section of the toolbar. If this toolbar doesn't open, click your graph and then click the Design tab in the green ribbon.

Create a chart in Excel for Mac

Move your line graph. Click and drag the white space near the top of the line graph to move it. You can also move specific sections of the line graph e. Resize the graph. Click and drag one of the circles on one of the edges or corners of the graph window in or out to shrink or enlarge your graph. Change the graph's title.

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Double-click the title of the graph, then select the "Chart Title" text and type in your graph's name. Clicking anywhere off of the graph's name box will save the text. You can do this for your graph's axes' labels as well. Click on the graph. Select 'Chart Elements' on the side, which is the plus icon.

Tick the 'Axis Titles' box.

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Some text boxes should appear on the x and y axis. Yes No. Not Helpful 11 Helpful Not Helpful 38 Helpful If multiple lines are present in my chart, how can I view one at a time? One method is to hide the relevant rows or columns that you do not wish to show on the graph.

Hidden rows and columns are not displayed. Not Helpful 20 Helpful Add another column to the right and for each cell, just add the goal number. This will add another line to your chart for that target number or set of numbers. Not Helpful 18 Helpful 7. Right click on the axis that you want to change and select "format axis". This opens a window with all the axis options available to you. Just click on whichever variable it is you do not want to be automatic and put in the values that you want. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 0.

Unanswered Questions. I have two series and I want to name them, what should I do. Answer this question Flag as