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Excel - Column Chart

Column charts in Excel are good for plotting data that is arranged in columns or rows of your worksheet. If you need to show how data changes over time, a column chart might be a good fit. Whereas scatter charts plot actual values along the x-axis, column charts use categories.

Let’s look at an example. Here is some data that shows how rainfall varies month by month.

Column Charts In Excel 2010

If we present that data in a column chart we will be able to see what’s going on more clearly.  Select the data and the headings and then click Insert > Charts > Column. I selected Stacked Column in 3-D.

Column Chart - Stacked Column In 3D

Because we selected the headings as well as the data, Excel knows that it should display “Rainfall (mm)” in the legend to the right. Months are plotted along the x-axis (the categories), whilst the actual rainfall in mm is plotted along the y-axis. This column chart gives us a good way to compare monthly rainfall figures.

Although we selected a 3-D column chart, the 3-D effect is very subtle. If we increase the rotation of the columns, we can add more depth. With the chart selected, click Chart Tools > Layout > 3-D Rotation. The Format Chart Area window opens with the 3-D Rotation tab active. Click on the up arrow to the right of the X rotation input box until the value is around 30 degrees. Nice. Do the same to the Y rotation value to get a much more striking 3-D effect.