How to Make a Line Graph From Data in Microsoft Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a line graph in Microsoft Excel is a breeze. First, input your data into the spreadsheet. Then, highlight the data you want to include in your graph. Next, click on the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘Line’ from the ‘Charts’ group. Choose the type of line graph you prefer, and Excel will generate the graph for you. Afterward, you can customize the graph to your liking by adding titles, adjusting the axis labels, or changing the line style.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a visual representation of your data trends over time. This can be incredibly useful for presentations, reports, or just a clearer understanding of the information.


Microsoft Excel isn’t just for number crunching; it’s also a powerful tool for creating visual representations of data. A line graph, also known as a line chart, is a type of chart commonly used to illustrate the trend of data over intervals of time. It’s a straightforward way to visualize relationships and patterns in your data, making it a crucial component for anyone working with statistics, finances, or any field that requires data analysis.

But why is this topic important, and who does it pertain to? Well, pretty much anyone dealing with data can benefit from knowing how to make a line graph in Excel. Whether you’re a student trying to showcase your research findings, a business professional looking to report on quarterly sales, or an individual tracking personal expenses or fitness progress, the ability to create a line graph quickly and accurately can be a huge advantage. Not only does it make your data easier to interpret, but it also makes your work appear more professional and credible.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Make a Line Graph From Data in Microsoft Excel

Before diving into the step-by-step process, let’s clarify what these steps will help you achieve. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a functional line graph derived from your data, which will help you analyze trends and convey information visually.

Step 1: Enter the data

Enter your data into an Excel spreadsheet.

When entering data, make sure that your data is organized in a way that will make sense when graphed. Typically, you’ll want your independent variable (like time or dates) in the first column and your dependent variable (the variable you’re measuring) in the adjacent columns.

Step 2: Highlight the data

Select the data that you want to include in your line graph.

Make sure to include the column headers if you want them to appear in your graph. You can do this by clicking and dragging your mouse over the cells with data.

Step 3: Insert the line graph

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab, click on the ‘Line’ chart dropdown in the ‘Charts’ group, and select your preferred line chart type.

Excel offers several line chart types including plain, stacked, and 3-D. Choose the one that best fits the type of data you’re representing.

Step 4: Customize the line graph

Customize your graph by adding chart elements like titles, labels, and data markers.

Click on the graph to activate the Chart Tools, which includes the ‘Design’ and ‘Format’ tabs. Here, you can add elements, change the style and color of your graph, and make adjustments to your axis scales.


Benefit Explanation
Visual Clarity A line graph provides a clear visual representation of data, making it easier to understand trends and patterns.
Comparison Line graphs allow for a straightforward comparison of different data sets over the same period.
Customization Excel offers extensive customization options for line graphs, enabling users to tailor the look to their specific needs.


Drawback Explanation
Over-Simplification Line graphs can sometimes oversimplify data, potentially misleading the viewer if not all variables are considered.
Limited Data Types They are not suitable for all types of data, particularly where there is no logical sequence or relationship.
Potential for Clutter With too many data sets or categories, line graphs can become cluttered and difficult to read.

Additional Information

When making a line graph, there’s more to consider than just the steps above. The type of data you’re working with, and the story you want to tell with your graph, will influence how you set up your Excel spreadsheet. If you’re tracking changes over time, make sure your timeline is consistent for comparable results.

Consider whether you’ll need a single line graph or if a multiple line graph would better serve your purpose. If you’re comparing multiple data sets, make sure they’re related in a way that makes sense to plot on the same graph.

Another tip is to keep your data range reasonable. If you’re displaying data over several years, you don’t need to include every single day—monthly or quarterly data points might suffice and will keep your graph from becoming too crowded.

Finally, remember that data visualization is as much about aesthetics as it is about numbers. The prompt keyword "Microsoft Excel" doesn’t just offer functionality; it also provides the opportunity to create something visually appealing. Don’t shy away from playing with colors, styles, and formatting to make your graph stand out.


  1. Enter the data into an Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Highlight the data that will be included in the line graph.
  3. Insert the line graph via the ‘Insert’ tab and ‘Charts’ group.
  4. Customize the graph with titles, labels, and styles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add multiple lines to my graph?

Yes, you can compare different data sets by including multiple lines in your graph.

How do I change the scale of the axes?

Click on the axis you want to change, then right-click and select ‘Format Axis’. From there, you can adjust the scale as needed.

Can I save my graph as an image?

Absolutely. Click on your graph, then right-click and select ‘Save as Picture’ to save your graph for use in other documents.

How do I change the line style or color?

Select the line you want to change. Then, under the ‘Format’ tab, you can adjust the line’s style, color, and width.

What if my data isn’t showing correctly on the graph?

Make sure that your data is correctly organized and that you’ve selected the appropriate chart type for your data.


A line graph is more than just lines and points; it’s a storytelling device that can illustrate complex data in a simple and comprehensive way. Mastering how to make a line graph from data in Microsoft Excel is a valuable skill that can enhance your data analysis, presentations, and overall ability to communicate information. With the steps, pros, cons, and additional insights provided, you’re well-equipped to turn your raw data into insightful visual stories. So, go ahead and dive into your Excel sheets – your data is waiting to be transformed into a graph that can speak volumes.