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Using Microsoft Excel

This guide explains the basics of common features in Microsoft Excel for PC.

Creating a Chart

Insert Chart

To insert a chart, select the date you wish to appear in the chart, and then go to the Insert Ribbon (if the data is noncontiguous, you can select one set, then hold down the Control key on the keyboard to select the second set). In the Charts Group, choose the type of chart you’d like. Click on the arrow below the type icon to see the sub-types. Excel 2013 also includes an option to browse Recommended Charts, which show you the chart types that best fit your data.

By default, the chart will appear directly on the spreadsheet where your data is; when the chart is selected, you will see additional Ribbons.In Excel 2010, you have the Design, Layout, and Format Ribbons. In Excel 2013, you have Design and Format. The 'Layout' options have been consolidated into the Design ribbon.

Modifying Charts

Once your chart appears in Excel, there are many ways to modify the way it looks and its location. A few ways are described below, but explore to find more! In all cases, you have to select the chart first to see the context sensitive Ribbons (Design, Layout, and Format.

  • To add any labels (for example, for the title or axes), use the Chart Tools Layout Ribbon.
  • In Excel 2013, the label options are under Add Chart Element on the far left of the Design Ribbon.
  • To change the chart type, data, or location, use the Chart Tools Design Ribbon.


From either the Chart Tools Layout Ribbon or the Chart Tools Format Ribbon, you can select an element on the chart (for example, a series), then choose the Format Selection icon in the Current Selection Group. In the Format [Selected item] dialog box, you can change the shape, style and color.