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How to Make a Line Graph in Excel

Omkar Phatak Jan 27, 2019
Among the many features provided by Microsoft Excel, the line graph functionality is particularly useful. In here, we provide you with a guide, explaining its usage.
Only those who have spent hours together, in drawing graphs manually, with the aid of a graph paper and a calculator, can appreciate the luxury that software programs like Microsoft Excel provide, for creating these graphs automatically.
Be it analyzing your company sales, balance sheet analysis, studying your income and expenses, or drawing graphs for experimental data, it's important that you know how to draw a line graph using Microsoft Excel or any other spreadsheet software like Open Office Calc.

Making a Line Graph Using Microsoft Excel

Step 1: Enter Data Accurately in Columns

Open Microsoft Excel and a new spreadsheet. The first and most important step is accurately entering the data into columns. To be able to draw a line graph with X-Y axes, you need to have a set of matching data points. Divide the data into columns and make sure that every column is labeled at the top. Ensure that every cell in the columns is filled up.
For example, if you are making a line graph of sales figures for the past five years, make a data column for year and another one for the sales figures. Ensure that the data is entered correctly in adjacent columns. The first column will be taken as the X-axis data, by default.
You may have more than one data columns, plotted against the first column, which will be plotted on the X axis. To make a double line graph in Excel, enter data in two columns, after the first data column, which will provide the X-axis reference.

Step 2: Select Data for Graph Plotting

Once the data is entered, select all the columns, along with the labels. Then open the 'Insert' tab, provided at the top, by clicking on it. Be careful that all the data, which you wish to plot on the graph, is selected.

Step 3: Choose the 'Insert Line Graph' Option

In the chart option provided there, you will find a line graph option, with several templates of the types you want. You may want to select 'Line with Markers' type.
Once you choose and click on the right type, immediately a graph representing the data will be visible on the spreadsheet. It will be a double-line graph, if you select three columns. So you are essentially done with plotting the data.

Step 4: Define Features

All that remains is defining things like the legend, the title, background color, and font color. Click on the graph and open chart design options. These functions let you define the basic design, layout, and formatting of the graph. Select the combination of features which suits your style. Once the designing is done, your graph is ready for use.
The only way to actually learn using the features of programs like Microsoft Excel, is to practice. Open the program right now and enter two sample data columns to make a line graph. The best part about using computer software programs, is the fact that you don't need to worry about making mistakes, as there is always the 'undo' function at hand.