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Another OOH moment in Excel - a quick way to create charts
The previous blog listing great OOH moments in Excel omitted one of the biggest - the absolute quickest way to create a chart.

Posted by Andy Brown on 14 August 2019

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Jenny's favourite Excel tip - creating charts

Jenny was miffed that I had missed this out from my 5 favourite ooh moments in Excel blog a couple of months ago, so I thought I'd make good my error.

Creating a chart

So let's suppose you want to create a chart comparing the population of different parts of the UK:

Select chart data

A good first step is to select the data you want to show in your chart.

Now just press one of the following keys:

Key What it does
F11 Creates a separate page chart
Alt + F1 Creates an embedded chart

That's it!  Obviously you'll now have to customise your chart ...

Selecting data

While on the subject, you can choose what data to select by judicious use of the Ctrl key.  For example, this selection would compare the populations of the English regions only:

Selecting data

It takes a bit of getting used to selecting data like this - the crucial thing is to avoid including any cell or cells twice, and to make sure that the data you select forms a rectangle.

Here's what this would show when you press F11:

Chart of English regions

The chart only shows the data you selected.

Setting a default chart

The reason I got a column chart for the above example is because that's the default default chart type (ie the default chart type that you get if you don't set any other).  However, it's easy enough to change this:

Change default chart type

Like doughnuts? Right-click on the particular subtype you like, and set this to be your new default.

And with that, my penance is complete!

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