How to Create Graphs in Excel With Multiple Columns: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating graphs in Excel with multiple columns can seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple! All you need is your data organized in a way Excel can understand, and a few clicks to set up your graph. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a professional-looking graph ready to go.

Step by Step Tutorial: Creating Graphs in Excel With Multiple Columns

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re about to do. We’ll be taking data from multiple columns and creating a graph that visually represents this information. This could be a bar graph, line graph, or another type that suits your data best.

Step 1: Organize Your Data

Make sure your data is arranged in rows and columns on an Excel sheet.

Organizing your data is crucial. Each column should represent a different variable, and each row should represent a different data point. This will help Excel understand how to plot your graph correctly.

Step 2: Select Your Data

Click and drag to highlight the cells containing the data you want to graph.

When selecting your data, make sure to include the row and column headings if you want them to appear in your graph. This will make your graph easier to understand.

Step 3: Choose Your Graph

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab and select the type of graph you want to use.

Excel offers a variety of graph types to choose from. Think about what will best represent your data. Are you comparing values? A bar graph might work best. Looking at trends over time? Consider a line graph.

Step 4: Customize Your Graph

Use the Chart Tools to adjust the design, layout, and formatting of your graph.

Customizing your graph is where you can get creative. Change the color of the bars, add a title, and make sure your axis labels are clear. This will make your graph not only informative but also appealing.

Step 5: Review Your Graph

Examine your graph to ensure it accurately represents your data and is easy to understand.

Take a step back and look at your graph with fresh eyes. Does it tell the story you want it to? Make sure there’s no misleading information or elements that could confuse your audience.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a graph that effectively communicates the information from your multiple columns of data. It’s a simple process that can have a big impact on the way your data is perceived.

Tips for Creating Graphs in Excel With Multiple Columns

  • Make sure your data is clean and free of errors before starting.
  • Use clear and descriptive titles and axis labels.
  • Choose a graph style that best represents your data’s story.
  • Customize the colors to make your graph visually appealing.
  • Consider using data labels for added clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many columns of data can I use for a graph in Excel?

You can use as many columns as you need, just make sure the graph type you choose can accommodate it.

Excel doesn’t have a strict limit on the number of columns, but keep in mind that too many variables can make a graph cluttered and hard to read. Be selective with the data you choose to graph.

Can I use different types of graphs for different columns?

Yes, you can create combination charts that use multiple graph types.

Combination charts are great for when you have variables that might be better represented by different types of graphs. For example, you could have a line graph overlaying a bar graph.

How do I add a legend to my graph?

A legend is automatically added when you create a graph, but you can customize it in the Chart Tools.

The legend helps readers understand which colors or patterns correspond to which data series. You can move it, change its font, or even remove it if it’s not necessary.

Can I change the scale of the axes in my graph?

Yes, you can manually adjust the scale of your axes in the Chart Tools.

If Excel’s automatic scaling doesn’t suit your data, you can adjust the minimum and maximum values, as well as the units of your axes, to better fit your graph.

How do I save my graph as an image?

You can right-click on the graph and select ‘Save as Picture’ to save it outside of Excel.

This is useful if you need to use the graph in a presentation or report that’s not being created in Excel. Save it as a .png or .jpg for the best quality.


  1. Organize Your Data
  2. Select Your Data
  3. Choose Your Graph
  4. Customize Your Graph
  5. Review Your Graph


Excel is a powerful tool that can take your data from rows and columns of numbers to compelling, insightful visual representations. Creating graphs with multiple columns may seem complex at first glance, but it’s really just a matter of a few simple steps. The true art lies in customizing your graph to highlight the key takeaways and make the data tell a story.

Remember, the best graphs are those that someone can understand at a glance, so clarity and simplicity are your friends. And with the tips and FAQs we’ve covered, you’re well on your way to becoming an Excel graphing expert. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your data come to life!

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