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    This is great!
    Where can we get this Excel workbook?

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    40+ Great Graphs You Can Make in Microsoft Excel

    Updated on: May 13th, 2024
    Data Visualization in Excel

    Bored of the basics?

    Want to take your graphs to the next level?

    Wondering what’s possible in Microsoft Excel?

    From A to Z, here are some of the amazing data visualizations that you can make inside of good ol’ Excel.


    You shade the area underneath the line for extra oomph.


    To compare the averages or totals of several categories at once.


    A bar-arc chart, a.k.a. curved bar chart. Not as accurate as a straight bar chart, but more interesting.

    Box and Whisker

    Mostly seen in academic settings.

    Bubble Charts

    To compare three variables: x, y, and z. The z variable is the size of the bubble.


    To visualize rankings over time.

    Clustered Bars

    Clustered Columns

    To compare a few subcategories at once.


    Combo Charts

    Two chart types combined into one, like a column chart with a line.

    Data Bars

    Miniature at-a-glance horizontal bars to help us explore our dataset.

    Diverging Stacked Bars

    Most useful for diverging variables, like agree-disagree scales, to see how many people fall on each side of the fence. I only use these for even-numbered data (i.e., the 4 breakouts shown here).


    A pie chart with a hole punched in the middle. Donuts follow the same rules as pies, e.g., limit them to 2-3 slices.

    Dot Plots

    A.k.a. the Cleveland dot plot, we get to compare two (or more) points along the same plane. Great alternative to clustered bars/columns.

    Heat Maps

    We color-code each location.

    Heat Tables

    We color-code each cell.


    Similar to column charts, but for bins (ordinal categories).

    Interactive Dashboards

    Available since Excel 2010, we link Excel Tables to pivot tables to pivot charts, and then use slicers to filter the data.


    To visualize patterns over time.


    A skinny bar chart with a dot at the endpoint.

    Network Maps

    To compare how people, entities, etc. are connected as a network. Possible with a free plug-in, NodeXL.


    Made entirely within Excel and saved as a PDF (not pasted into Word).

    Overlapping Bars & Columns

    When you’re comparing each bar/column to its own target.

    Pie Charts

    Make sure you follow these guidelines.

    Population Pyramids

    A back-to-back histogram. The traditional population pyramid visualizes age vs. sex, and is most common among demographers. We can make these for any ordinal variable (age ranges, income levels, highest educational level completed, etc.) x two categories (two locations, two groups, etc.).

    Scatter Plots

    To visualize the correlation between two continuous variables (x and y).

    Series of Matching Dashboards

    One per student, per school, per state, etc. Create one template and let Excel handle the rest.


    A fancy name for a line chart that compares exact two points in time.

    Small Multiples Bars

    Several small charts. See another example here.

    Small Multiples Lines

    An alternative to the spaghetti line chart.


    Miniature within-cell trendlines that help us explore the data.

    Stacked Bars

    An alternative to making comparisons across multiple pie charts.

    Stacked Columns

    Static Dashboards

    Learn how to make them in this Dashboard Design course.

    Sunburst Diagrams

    Nested donut charts for comparing categories and their subcategories.

    Swarm Plots

    Also known as bee swarms and jittered dot plots. These plots show the individuality of each data point, not just averages.

    Tile Grid Heat Maps

    An alternative to the regular ol’ geographic map. Helps us combat the Alaska Effect. Learn more about them here.

    Tile Grid Trendline Maps

    An alternative to the spaghetti line chart.

    Tree Maps

    For nested data: classrooms within schools within districts; branches within a government agency; etc.


    A square version of the pie chart.

    Your Turn

    Which of these charts are you already using?

    Which ones might you try in the future?

    Comment below and let me know!

    More about Ann K. Emery
    Ann K. Emery is a sought-after speaker who is determined to get your data out of spreadsheets and into stakeholders’ hands. Each year, she leads more than 100 workshops, webinars, and keynotes for thousands of people around the globe. Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making technical information easier to understand for non-technical audiences.


  • Sara H says:

    This is great!
    Where can we get this Excel workbook?

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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    Our complimentary mini course for beginners to dataviz. Takes 45 minutes to complete.


    Need practical how-to tips? In this course, you’ll learn how to make great graphs inside software you already have. Includes beginner, intermediate, and advanced tutorials for making charts from start to finish.



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