How to Change a Chart Type in Excel

How to Change a Chart Type in Excel
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  • 0:00 Charts in Excel
  • 0:36 Quick Review:…
  • 1:28 Chart Tools
  • 2:44 Changing the Chart Type
  • 3:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

If you are anything like me, you have a hard time deciding what type of chart you should create. I'll start with bars, change to columns, and end up with lines. This lesson is all about changing the type of an existing chart.

Charts in Excel

Depending on the information you need to display and how you want to display it, Excel has plenty of chart types and styles you can select. For instance, there are charts with columns, bars, and some made with lines. You can even create a chart that is in the shape of a pie. The chart type you choose will determine what the chart will look like.

This lesson will start with a quick review on how to insert a new chart in Excel. Then, we'll look at the different options and how to change the type easily and quickly.

Quick Review: Inserting a Chart

I think it's always a good idea to refresh the memory, so let's quickly review how to insert a chart in Excel. Assume you own a small, neighborhood grocery store and just opened two years ago. You would like to see a chart comparing the revenue results for the first two years. You have created a worksheet and entered the final numbers for each month of the first two years. For the chart type, you have decided to create a bar chart. Here are the steps:

  1. Select the data, including your titles and labels
  2. Click on the INSERT tab in the ribbon
  3. Look in the CHART grouping of commands
  4. Click on the BAR CHART command and select a chart

And that's it! It's super easy. Select your data, then select your chart. Excel will load the selected data, and you are good to go.

Chart Tools

Often, I find myself regretting my choice of chart type. I'll select one with bars, then change to one with columns. Now, the next time I create a chart, I'll choose columns (since I liked that one last time) and undoubtedly, change it to one with bars. Start over each time? Not me! Luckily, Excel creates shortcuts and commands for people just like me who can't make up their minds.

Notice, if you highlight or click on the chart, a new menu appears in the ribbon. This handy new menu is called CHART TOOLS. Under the DESIGN tab, the menu provides five additional groups of commands.

  • CHART LAYOUTS: quickly add an element or change the layout
  • CHART STYLES: easily change the color and style of the chart
  • DATA: modify the information or data the chart displays
  • TYPE: change the type such as bar, column, line or pie
  • LOCATION: move the chart placement on the worksheet

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