Create an Excel Chart

We’re now going to create a chart from our BBC1 Viewing figures. If you haven't yet completed the sorting tutorial, go back one page and follow along with the lesson. You'll then have a some sorted viewing figures to create a chart from.

When our chart is finished, though, it will look like this:

The Completed Excel 2007 Chart

A little later, you'll see how to improve on this basic chart.


To start making your chart, highlight the BBC1 programmes, and the viewing figures. If you have just finished the sorting section, this data should still be highlighted, and look like this:

The Selected Data for the Chart

With your programmes and the viewing figures highlighted, do this:

  • From the tabs on the Excel Ribbon, click on Insert
  • Locate the Charts panel. It looks like this in Excel 2007:

The Charts panel is on the Insert menu in Excel 2007

In later versions of Excel, the Charts panel looks like this:

Charts panel in Excel 2013

For this first one, we'll create a Column Chart. So, in Excel 2007, click the down arrow on the Column item of the Chart Panel. You'll see a list of available charts to choose from. Select the first one, the chart highlighted below (2D Column):

Available charts in Excel 2007

The Column drop down list in later versions of Excel looks like this:

Column charts in Excel 2010 and 2013

When you make your selection, a new chart appears on the same spreadsheet that you have open. The chart should look the same as the one at the top if this page.

But notice that the Excel Ribbon has changed. The design menu is selected, along with options for Chart Layouts:

Chart Layouts

In Excel 2013 to 2016, you'll see these layouts on the left, in the Chart Layouts panel, under Quick Layouts:

Also on the Design Ribbon, you'll see options for Chart styles:

Chart Styles



You'll see how to use these later. For now, your chart may be covering your viewing figures. In the next part, we'll see how to move and resize a chart.