Select data for a chart

Basic Description

A row or column of numbers that are plotted in a chart is called a data series. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. To create a chart, you need to select at least one cell in a range of data (a set of cells). I strongly recommend that spend five minutes with the data before making the chart otherwise you may be take five hours later trying to make the chart conform.

For selecting data range please do one of the following:

  • If your chart data is in a continuous range of cells, select any cell in that range. Your chart will include all the data in the range.
  • If your data isn’t in a continuous range, select nonadjacent cells or ranges. Just make sure your selection forms a rectangle.

Tip: If you don’t want to include specific rows or columns of data in a chart, you can simply hide them on the worksheet, or you can apply chart filters to show the data points you want after you create the chart.

Arrange data for charts

Excel can recommend charts for you. The charts it suggests depend on how you’ve arranged the data in your worksheet. You also may have your own charts in mind. Either way, this table lists the best ways to arrange your data for a given chart.


For this chart
Arrange the data
Column, bar, line, area, surface, or radar chart In columns or rows, like this:Data arrangement for column, bar, line, area, surface, and radar charts


Pie chartThis chart uses one set of values (called a data series). In one column or row, and one column or row of labels, like this:Data arrangement for Pie charts
Doughnut chartThis chart can use one or more data series In multiple columns or rows of data, and one column or row of labels, like this:Data arrangement for doughnut charts
XY (scatter) or bubble chart In columns, placing your x values in the first column and your y values and bubble sizes in the next two columns, like this:Data arrangement for scatter and bubble charts
Stock chart In columns or rows, using a combination of volume, opening, high, low, and closing values, plus names or dates as labels in the right order. For example, like this:Data arrangement for stock charts


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