Using Microsoft Excel to Make A Graph

Plotting an X-Y Data Set

Suppose we want to plot the volume of hydrochloric acid used vs. the moles of magnesium.

1. The first step in creating a graph using Microsoft Excel is entering the data. The data should be in two adjacent columns with the x data in the left column. The columns should be labeled in row one in order to identify what the numbers in the spreadsheet represent.(figure 4).

Figure 4: X and Y data

2. Position the cursor on the first X value (i.e., at the top of the column containing the x values, or "Moles of Mg" values), hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse cursor to the bottom Y value (i.e., at the bottom of the column containing the y values, or "Volume of HCl" values). All of the X-Y values should now be highlighted (figure 4).

3. Click on Insert at the top left of the toolbar.

4. Click on Chart

5. Click on the box labeled XY (Scatter).

6. Click on Next >.

7. Click on the X-Y pattern without lines (Format Option 1).

8. Click on Next >; a reduced version of your graph will appear.

9. Click on Next >.

10. Click in the rectangular box labeled "Chart Title" and type in a title for the graph (e.g., "Volume of HCl vs. Moles Mg).

11. Click separately on the boxes labeled "Category (X)" and "Value (Y)" and type a label for the X axis (e.g., Moles Mg) and the Y axis (e.g., Volume HCl (mL)).

12. Click on As New Sheet. This will instruct the program to plot the data on a separate sheet labeled "Chart1".

13. Click on Next >.

14. Click on Finish. At this point you will have created an X-Y plot of the data which should look like figure 5.

Figure 5: X-Y Plot of Experimental Data