Spreadsheets help you organize numerical data in many flexible ways. To present your audience with numerical data in graphic form can mean the difference between puzzlement and quick understanding. One way to start making charts is to try presenting two sets of data on a single line graph. Line graphs are common tools in business and politics, so they are both easy and important to understand.
Things You'll Need
- Computer with a spreadsheet program (Open Office Calc or Microsoft Excel)
Open your spreadsheet program and enter your two data sets into adjacent columns. Type a label for your data sets in the first row of each column. (Note: These instructions are based on Open Office Calc, a free spreadsheet program, but the process will be similar when using Microsoft Excel.)
Click and drag to select all of the cells whose data you wish to include in your chart, including the "label" cells at the top of each column.
Click "Insert" and then "Chart." Select "Line" from the "Choose a chart type" column. Select "Lines and Points" from the icons on the right-hand side of the dialog box. Click "Next." Make sure the "First row as label" box is checked and then "Next" twice.
Type in a title for your chart, a subtitle (if desired) and names for the X axis and Y axis. Click "Finish."
Tips & Warnings
- The program will select different colors for your lines automatically and create a legend for your chart. If you wish to change the colors, create your chart and then right-click on one of the lines, click "Object Properties" and select the color you would prefer.
- If you want to create three or more graphs on one chart, simply add more columns of data and select them all before you click "Insert" and then "Chart." Each data set will be represented by its own line.
- Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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