Quick Guide to Microsoft Excel
This is to provide you with the fundamentals of Excel, the program you will use to produce your visual
comparison charts for you persuasive reports. Excel has many features, so there’s plenty that you can do to
make easy to view, professional looking charts for your projects. I will not cover every feature, but I will
expect you to explore the program.
1. Open Microsoft Excel. A blank spreadsheet will appear. CHART WIZARD ICON
2. Enlarge columns A and
B – These are the
columns in which you
will place your data, and
you need to make enough
room to display your
data. Enlarge the
columns by placing the
cursor between the cells
that label the columns
(the cursor will change to
a vertical line with
horizontally through it)
and dragging the cursor
to the desired spot.
3. In cells A2-A?, begin
placing the titles of what
will go in the X axis
(usually an automobile’s
name for this project),
and work your way down in column A.
4. In cell B1, type in the series name (this is what you are measuring – MPG, costs, cargo space, etc.).
5. In cells B2-B?, type the values for the items in the corresponding A column. Now you’re ready to make
6. Click in cell A1, then drag the mouse to select all of the cells in which you have typed information.
Click once more after you have selected all of your information.
7. Click on the chart wizard icon, or go to Insert chart. You are now working in the chart wizard, and
you will be prompted to select a chart type. A column chart works best for this project.
8. After selecting your chart type, click next in the chart wizard. Here you may select either rows or
columns view. The
preview feature in the chart
wizard shows exactly what
your chart will look like.
After making your
selection, click next.
9. Label your X and Y axis
and give your chart a title.
10. The tabs at the top of the
chart wizard (titles, axes,
gridlines, legend, data
labels, and data table) let
you change the appearance
and labels on your chart.
For example, with the
labels tab, you can have
the exact value number of
each bar appear above the
bar, further enhancing the effectiveness of your chart. Play around with the features of these tabs until
you are pleased with the appearance of the chart in the chart wizard.
11. Click next.
12. Save your chart as a new sheet; give it an
13. Click Finish. You will see your finished chart. If
you are not pleased with the appearance of your
chart, you may manipulate its appearance here.
Simply double-click on the item you wish to change
(font size, font color, bar color, etc.) and change the
item as prompted.
14. If at any time you need to change the information in your
chart, simply click on the “sheet 1” tab at the bottom of the
screen and change the information in the spreadsheet. Your
chart will automatically be updated.
15. Save your work to your P-drive.
16. When you are ready to place your chart in your persuasive
report document, open your chart, select it, then copy and paste
it into your persuasive report document.