MS Office - Creating XY (Scatter) and Line charts

XY (Scatter) charts and Line charts look very similar, especially when a Scatter chart is displayed with connecting lines. However, there's a big difference in the way each of them displays data. The main difference is the way each of these chart types plots data on the x-axis.

For example, let's examine how the same daily rainfall and particulate data of the following worksheet is displayed in a Scatter chart and a Line chart.

Picture of daily rainfall worksheet data

When you use this worksheet data to create a Scatter chart, the daily rainfall values from column A of the worksheet will be displayed as x-values on the horizontal axis, and the particulate values from column B will be displayed as y-values on the vertical axis, as shown in the following picture.

Picture of a scatter chart

The first data point to appear in the Scatter chart represents both a y-value of 137 (particulate) and an x-value of 1.9 (daily rainfall). These numbers come from both columns of row 9 on the worksheet.

In the following Line chart, however, the same daily rainfall and particulate data is displayed as two separate data points, which are evenly distributed along the horizontal axis.

Picture of a line chart

Notice how the particulate y-value of 137 and the daily rainfall x-value of 1.9 are displayed as separate data points in this Line chart. Neither of these data points are the first data point displayed in the chart — instead, the first data point for each of the data series (data series: Related data points that are plotted in a chart. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern and is represented in the chart legend. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) comes from the first data row (row 2) of the worksheet.

Create a Scatter or Line chart

  1. Arrange your data so that the x-values are in the first row or column of your worksheet, and the y-values are located in adjacent rows or columns.
  2. Select the range of x- and y-values that you want to plot in the chart.
  3. Click Chart on the Insert menu to start the Chart Wizard.
  4. In the Chart type box, select XY (Scatter) or Line.
  5. Under Chart sub-type, click the chart sub-type you want to use.

    For a quick preview of the chart you are creating, click Press and Hold to View Sample.

  6. Click Next, and continue with steps 2 through 4 of the Chart Wizard.

    For help on any of the steps, click the question mark (?) on the Chart Wizard title bar.


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