Creating Charts and Graphics in Visual Studio .NET

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Creating Charts and Graphics
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In this chapter, you ll learn how to create a chart and customize its elements, find trends in your overall data, summarize data using sparklines, create dynamic charts, and create and format shapes, diagrams, and shapes containing mathematical equations.
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Practice Files Before you can complete the exercises in this chapter, you need to copy the book s practice files to your computer. The practice files you ll use to complete the exercises in this chapter are in the 10 practice file folder. A complete list of practice files is provided in Using the Practice Files at the beginning of this book.
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To create a chart, select the data you want to summarize visually and then, on the Insert tab, in the Charts group, click the type of chart you want to create to have Excel display the available chart subtypes.
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Troubleshooting The appearance of buttons and groups on the ribbon changes depending on the width of the program window. For information about changing the appearance of the ribbon to match our screen images, see Modifying the Display of the Ribbon at the beginning of this book.
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When you click a chart subtype, Excel creates the chart by using the default layout and color scheme defined in your workbook s theme.
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Keyboard Shortcut Press F11 to create a chart of the default type. Unless you or another user changed the default, Excel creates a column chart. See Also To see a complete list of keyboard shortcuts, see Keyboard Shortcuts at the end of this book.
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If Excel doesn t plot your data the way you want it to, you can change the axis on which Excel plots a data column. The most common reason for incorrect data plotting is that the column to be plotted on the horizontal axis contains numerical data instead of textual data. For example, if your data includes a Year column and a Volume column, instead of plotting volume data for each consecutive year along the horizontal axis, Excel plots both of those columns in the body of the chart and creates a sequential series to provide values for the horizontal axis.
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Creating Charts and Graphics
You can change which data Excel applies to the vertical axis (also known as the y-axis) and the horizontal axis (also known as the x-axis). To make that change, select the chart and then, on the Design tab, in the Data group, click Select Data to display the Select Data Source dialog box.
The Year column doesn t belong in the Legend Entries (Series) pane, which corresponds to a column chart s vertical axis. To remove a column from an axis, select the column s name, and then click Remove. To add the column to the Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels pane, click that pane s Edit button to display the Axis Labels dialog box.
In the Axis Labels dialog box, click the Collapse Dialog button at the right edge of the Axis Label Range field, select the cells to provide the values for the horizontal axis (not including the column header, if any), click the Expand Dialog button, and then click OK. Click OK again to close the Select Data Source dialog box and revise your chart.
Creating Charts
After you create your chart, you can change its size to reflect whether the chart should dominate its worksheet or take on a role as another informative element on the worksheet. For example, Gary Schare, the chief executive officer of Consolidated Messenger, could create a workbook that summarizes the performance of each of his company s business units. In that case, he would display the chart and data for each business unit on the same worksheet, so he would want to make his charts small. To resize a chart, select the chart, and then drag one of the handles on the chart s edges. Handles in the middle of the edges enable you to resize the chart in one direction. Dragging a handle on the left or right edge enables you to make the chart narrower or wider, whereas dragging the handles on the chart s top and bottom edges enable you to make the chart shorter or taller. Dragging a corner handle enables you to change the chart s height and width at the same time; holding down the Shift key as you drag the corner handle changes the chart s size without changing its proportions. Just as you can control a chart s size, you can also control its location. To move a chart within a worksheet, drag the chart to the desired location. If you want to move the chart to a new worksheet, click the chart and then, on the Design contextual tab, in the Location group, click Move Chart to display the Move Chart dialog box.
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