How to Create a Line Chart in Excel

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Line chart

Analyzing large amounts of data, at times, can become an ordeal, especially for newbies.

And that’s where a line chart comes into play to save the day, helping visualize a sea of data to empower decision-making.

Stick around to learn how to create mind-blowing line charts in Excel in just a few clicks.

Prepare & Format Your Data

In order to create a line chart in Excel, you need at least one column of data. However, a good rule of thumb is to use two or more columns of similar data to compare them between each other.

To show you the process from A to Z, we’re going to use a simple two-column data table as a running example:

Example of indicators

Here’s a quick overview of the columns to help you follow our footsteps:

  • Column A (Quarter): This column contains the categories that define your data set. The values will be charted on the x-axis.
  • Column B (Profit): The second column typically contains your actual values that are going to be mapped on the y-axis.

After a quick setup, you can get down to creating a line chart.

How to Create a Line Chart in Excel in 4 Easy Steps

The entire process of making a line chart in Excel is pretty straightforward and entails only four laughably simple steps:.

1. Select the data you want to visualize (A1:B5).

2. Next, click “Insert.”

3. Navigate to the “Insert Line or Area chart” menu.

4. Under “2-D Line,” choose “Line.

How to Create a Line Chart in Excel in 4 Easy Steps

As a result, you get your simple line chart in just four clicks.

Line chart

How to Customize Your Excel Line Chart

Your line chart is ready. But what if you go the extra mile and spruce it up a bit to improve its look and feel? 

With some built-in Excel customization tools, you can give it a more attractive look.

How to Change the Chart Title to Your Line Chart in Excel

Any great graph starts with a catchy and descriptive chart title. Here are some easy-peasy steps to help gain full control over this chart element.

1. Сlick on your line chart.

2. Open the Design tab.

3. Choose “Add Chart Element.”

4. Click “Chart Title.

5. Pick either “Above Chart” or “Centered Overlay” to set the position of the chart title.

How to Change the Chart Title to Your Line Chart in Excel

6. Enter your title.

7. Select the Home tab.

8. Change the color, size, font, and formatting of your chart title however you like.

How to change text

After such simple steps, your title will look neat and presentable.

How to Add a Legend to Your Line Chart in Excel

A legend helps make your line chart more descriptive, so it’s a good idea to set it up using these simple steps:

1. Click on the chart plot.

2. Select “Design.”

3. Choose “Add Chart Element.”

4. Click “Legend.

5. Сhoose “Right,” “Top,” “Left,” or “Bottom” to position your chart legend based on your needs.

How to Add a Legend to Your Line Chart in Excel

It’s a piece of cake, isn’t it?

How to Add Data Labels to Your Line Chart in Excel

Data labels provide more context by displaying your actual values on the chart plot. Here are the steps you need to take to add data labels to your line chart in Excel:

1. Click once on your line chart

2. Pull up the Design tab.

3.  Hit the “Add Chart Element” button.

4. Open the “Data Labels” menu. 

5. Сhoose “Center,” “Left,” “Right,” “Above,” “Below,” or “Data Callout” to specify the position of the data labels relative to the data points charted on the plot.

How to Add Data Labels to Your Line Chart in Excel

Once you have followed these instructions, your line chart is more informative and aesthetically pleasing.

How to Add Axis Titles to Your Line Chart in Excel

Axis titles are a great way to clearly convey what your line chart is all about without causing any confusion.

And how to add them without hardship? Let’s see!

1. Click on your line chart.

2. Select “Design.”

3. Pick out “Add Chart Element.”

4. Click “Axis Titles.” 

5. Choose “Primary Horizontal” to create an axis title for the x-axis or “Primary Vertical” to add an axis title to the y-axis.

How to Add Axis Titles to Your Line Chart in Excel

How to Add a Trendline to Your Line Chart in Excel

Using a trendline helps identify patterns and trends in your data set. And with Excel, you can easily add it to your line chart for more data insights.

1. Click on the chart plot.

2. Select the “Design” tab.

3. Choose “Add Chart Element.”

4. Click “Trendline.

5. Choose “Linear,” “Exponential,” “Linear Forecast,” or “Moving Average” to build a specific trendline based on your unique charting needs. 

How to Add a Trendline to Your Line Chart in Excel

How to Apply a Different Chart Style to Your Line Chart in Excel

The aesthetic appearance of a line chart is no less important than the actual data. To take your line charts to the next level, Excel offers a wide range of chart styles to accommodate your needs.

1. Click on the plot of your line chart.

2. Select “Design.”

3. Click the small arrow in the lower-right corner of the Chart Styles group to pull up all built-in chart templates.

How to Apply a Different Chart Style to Your Line Chart in Excel

4. Select the chart style that you like the most.

The example of chart style in Excel

That’s it! Your enhanced line chart is good to go.

Excel Line Chart – Free Template

If you’re short on time, grab this free Excel line chart template and replace the placeholder values with your data. Click the link below to download the file:

Excel Line Chart Template

Excel Line Chart - Free Template

The Breakdown of The Types of Line Charts in Excel

Apart from a basic line chart, Excel offers you multiple subtypes of line graphs to up your data visualization game.

Line Chart is used to depict trends over time and will help you highlight important values.

Stacked Line – as the previous type of charts depicts values by mapping them out on the chart plot and connecting them with lines. The difference lies in the fact that the values stack on top of each other and do not intersect.

Stacked Line

100% Stacked Line depicts the relative changes in your actual values over a given period of time.

100% Stacked Line

Line with Markers uses data markers to single out the values charted on the plot.

Line with Markers

Stacked Line Chart with Markers, by the same token, uses data markers to highlight data points.

tacked Line Chart with Markers

100% Stacked Line with Markers, again, enhances the chart plot with dots that highlight the actual values.

00% Stacked Line with Markers

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