How to make a scatter plot in Excel

Contents
  1. Excel makes it easy to visualize data
  2. Create a scatter plot in Excel on Windows or MacOS
  3. Create a scatter plot in Excel on Android or iOS

Excel makes it easy to visualize data

Selected menu icon Scatter (X, Y) Chart”
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In Excel, a scatter chart displays data points located at coordinates on the x and y axes. Scatterplots are also sometimes referred to as X and Y plots, scatterplots, scatterplots, or scatterplots. All of these names refer to charts that visualize data in Cartesian (x, y) coordinates.

As Excel’s indicators suggest, a scatter plot helps you compare value pairs. The pattern created by dotted dots can help people understand the relationship between two variables. For example, a scatter plot can show vehicle miles on one axis and annual maintenance costs on another axis, or show data sets with height on one axis and weight on the other.

In some cases it can be useful to let Excel calculate and display the line based on the location of the points. A straight line indicates a linear relationship between two variables, while a curved line, such as an exponential or parabolic curve, indicates a more complex relationship between two variables. However, if two numbers are just randomly related, the string will not help people understand the data.

Although the images below show Excel for Office 365, the following ignore functions work in Excel 2019, Excel 2016, and Excel 2010 on Windows; Excel 2016 and Excel 2011 on macOS; and Microsoft Excel on Android and iOS, as well as Office 365.

Create a scatter plot in Excel on Windows or MacOS

Follow these steps to create a scatter plot in Excel on a laptop or desktop computer.

  1. Check your dataset to make sure you have at least two columns (or rows) of data. Ideally, the first cell in each series will contain a text entry describing the next number, such as “Vehicle Mileage” or “Annual Maintenance Cost”.

  2. Use the mouse or cursor to click the upper-left cell of the data you want to display, then drag the cursor to the lower-right cell of the data set to select it.

  3. Select tab Insert

  4. Choose an icon Scatter (X, Y) or bubble chart

    Insert a scatter icon (X, Y) or bubble chart. †
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  5. Select More scatter plots… at the bottom of the menu.

  6. Select the Scatter Plot option you prefer. For example, Excel for Office 365 shows five different scatter plot options: scatter (which shows data points), scatter with smooth lines and highlights (which also shows data points), smooth line scatter (which hides data points), straight-line scatter, lines and markers (which show data points). show) and Scatter with straight lines (which hide data points).

  7. Then choose whether to compare the two columns of data, or use the two columns as indicators for the x and y axes, respectively. Select a chart style and then click Okay

  8. Excel should now insert a chart into your table showing your data. If the chart title, axis labels, and other chart elements suit your needs, you can stop there. In most cases, however, you will need to adjust one or more chart elements.

  9. Click (or click) on an empty space in the chart to select the chart.

  10. Then set the display options for the chart element. Click the + button next to the chart to choose which chart elements to display. If you check the box, the item will be displayed next to each item. Clear the check box to hide the element.

    Chart elements can contain axes, axis titles, chart titles, data labels, error bars, gridlines, legend, and trendline. Select to the right of the element name to see a triangle that gives you access to the element’s advanced options. For example, in addition to gridlines, you can enable Primary Large Horizontal, Primary Large Vertical, Primary Secondary Horizontal, Primary Secondary Vertical, or Advanced options.

    In almost all cases, you need to include the axes, axis titles, chart title, and gridlines.

  11. Optionally, with the chart selected, select the brush icon to customize its appearance. You can choose from several chart styles and also choose from a pre-configured color palette.

  12. Double-click (or tap) a chart element to edit it. You can change the text and display options on many elements.

  13. When you’re done, click (or tap) once on the chart to select it. Once selected, you can move the chart to any location on the current sheet. You can resize the chart by selecting and moving one of the corners of the chart. You can also use Ctrl-C to copy the chart and then Ctrl-V to paste the chart elsewhere in your Excel spreadsheet.

See Microsoft’s guide to creating charts of all kinds in Microsoft Office for Windows or mcOS, see Creating a chart from start to finish.

Create a scatter plot in Excel on Android or iOS

To create a scatter plot in Excel on Android or iOS devices, you need to install the Microsoft Excel app on your phone (install Microsoft Excel on Android or Microsoft Excel for iOS).

  1. Just like on desktop devices, check the dataset to make sure you have at least two columns (or rows) of data. Ideally, the first cell in each series will contain a text entry describing the next number, such as “Vehicle Mileage” or “Annual Maintenance Cost”.

  2. Click the top-left cell of the data you want to display, then drag the cursor to the bottom-right cell of the data set to select it.

  3. On larger devices such as a tablet, press Insert diagrams XY (scattering)

    On smaller devices like a phone, tap the submenu item at the bottom of the screen (it looks like an up arrow), then tap the word At home and then press Insert † Scroll through the menu and press Diagram † Scroll through these menu items and press XY (scattering)

  4. Select the Scatter Plot option you prefer.

  5. Excel should now insert a chart into your table showing your data. If the chart title, axis labels, and other chart elements suit your needs, you can stop there.

To customize individual chart elements on a mobile device, you need to sign in to Microsoft Excel on Android or iOS with an Office 365 subscription. Once you’ve done that, you can customize chart elements by following these steps:

  1. Click on a chart to select it.

  2. Then click on menu items such as Layouts, Elements, Colors or Styles to access and customize the various chart elements.

The process for creating a scatter plot on mobile, portable and desktop systems is very similar. Enter your data, select it, insert a chart, and adjust chart details. The challenge is to make sure the scatter plot is the right way to visualize your data and to choose the precise chart style that best illustrates your point.

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