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.

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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:.

### Steps to Create a Line Chart

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.

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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! 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. In our example, the first column should list the months of the year. Select your data You can click and drag across the cells where you've entered your data, or you can hold down the shift key while using the arrow keys to select the appropriate cells. Be sure to include all your labels. Select chart. This will open the Chart Wizard. Select the type of chart you want to make Choose the chart type that will best display your data.

For example, pie charts are good for displaying percentages and line charts are good for displaying data over time. If it looks good, click Next.

## How to create a line graph in Excel

Name your chart Enter a title for your chart where it says Chart Title. The wikiHow Tech Team also followed the article's instructions and validated that they work. Learn more Open Microsoft Excel. Double-click the Excel program icon, which resembles a white "X" on a green folder. Excel will open to its home page. If you already have an Excel spreadsheet with data input, instead double-click the spreadsheet and skip the next two steps. Click Blank Workbook. It's on the Excel home page. Doing so will open a new spreadsheet for your data. On a Mac, Excel may just open to a blank workbook automatically depending on your settings.

If so, skip this step. Enter your data.

## How to Make a Graph in Excel | HowStuffWorks

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.

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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. 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. 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.