When creating charts in Excel, the series and category, or rows and columns, may at times need to be switched. Excel has a command called Switch Row/Column. This lesson will review the steps to using this command.
Making the Switch
Imagine you entered a bunch of numbers, then inserted a chart to visually enhance the worksheet and make the information easier to digest. You hand it off to your boss who likes it, but he wants the columns switched, or in other words, the category and series need to be reversed. You prepare to start over and re-create the chart. But wait! There is an easier way.
This lesson will start with a Quick review about charts in Excel, learning what is meant by the x-axis, y-axis, series and category. You will learn how to switch between the two using the Switch Row/Column command.
Excel Charts - Refresher
Before you learn how to switch rows and columns, let's review the basic elements of an Excel chart. Charts in Excel can be very helpful when you need to display data graphically. This usually makes the numbers and calculations a bit easier to read and understand. Using a chart will help the viewer easily see which numbers are high or low and which numbers may be going up or down.
Most charts have two axis. I like to think of them as the sides of the chart or graph. You have the x-axis, which is the horizontal part of the chart, and the y-axis, which is the vertical part.
Let's take a look at a sample chart and identify its components. Imagine you have created a worksheet with the revenue results for the last four years. You have a column for each year and the quarterly revenue results displayed by row. To insert the chart, you highlighted the data, clicked on Insert and selected a Column Chart.
If you look at the chart, we have five key elements.
- Title: describes what the chart is illustrating
- Series: related data points (In our example, this would be each quarter, identified with a different color.)
- Legend: shows what each color in the series represents
- X-Axis: the horizontal part of the chart or categories
- Y-Axis: the vertical part of the chart or values
Okay. Let's move on.
The Switch Row/Column Command
If we look at the chart, the data series represents each year, and the categories are for each quarter. You need to switch the two. Luckily, Excel makes this very easy. No need to start over and re-create the chart. Here are the steps.
- Select the chart
- Go to the ribbon and look in the Chart Tools menu
- Select Design
- Look in the Data grouping of commands
- Click on the Switch Row/Column command
And there you have it. Excel switches the category and the series. Each data series now represents each quarter, as opposed to each year.
In this lesson, we reviewed the different elements of an Excel chart. You have the title, series, legend, y-axis and x-axis. You learned that the y-axis is the vertical part of the chart or the value. You learned that the x-axis is the horizontal part or category.
You also learned how to use the Switch Row/Column command to reverse the category and series. The command is located in the ribbon, under the Chart Tools/Design menu. This makes it easy to switch rows and columns in an Excel chart.
After this lesson concludes, you'll know how to:
- Recognize the five key elements of Excel charts
- Explain how to switch chart rows and columns in Excel