How to make a line graph in Excel

Line graphs in Excel are standard options together with bar graphs. Whereas bar graphs are good for presenting proportions, line graphs are used to predict the data in future time periods and to track trends.

If you need to present data visually in Microsoft Excel you can use line graphs to show the data. In this way the data you present will be easier to notice. Although line graphs don’t require advanced Excel skills, it can easily happen that you plot the data in a line graph incorrectly. For that reason, you should better check out how to make a line graph in Excel and to have all the information you need before you start.

The elements of a line graph in Excel

X axis (Horizontal Axis): it presents time periods and it is an independent variable.

Y axis (Vertical Axis): the dependent variable, shows the data that is being tracked.

Legend: this part provides information about the tracked data so viewers can read and understand the graph. This is particularly useful when a graph has more lines.

Plot Area: The section where the data is plotted.

The first step is to write the data you want to present in a line graph. Then you select the data, by using the left-mouse click and dragging the rows. Make sure you include the headlines of the columns as well.

Now click on the Insert button and then on Insert Line Chart option, in the Charts tab. You will open the drop-down list to choose among the available chart/graph types. When you click on the Line graph chart, the unformatted and simple graph will be added. That type of graph shows the lines that present the data, values of the axes, a legend, a default chart title.

These steps are not the same for older versions of MS Office and the options you need to choose may not be the same.

This simple version of a line graph in Excel is good for presented simple data, such as frequency of specific events. When you have a data set for the given time period, you can easier present it in a line graph than in a chart.

If you need to change the format of your line graph, you can do so by clicking on the graph with the right mouse click. You can change the font and the background colour of every element, and add different effects.

How to create two line graphs in Excel

The steps are the same but you need to create at least two columns with data in Excel and mark all the data.

Make sure that corresponding values are in the same row or column. So, the steps to add two line graphs are the same, as well as the editing lines.

If you want to share your Excel graphs, don’t forget that it may look different on other computers, depedning on the platform and the Excel version. To avoid this and keep the original formatting, it is better to convert Excel to PDF and use that PDF document to present your work.