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Microsoft Excel: Create a Chart with One Click

written by: Mr Excel•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/9/2010

Although Excel's Chart Wizard can be very helpful when you need to walk through the steps, one by one, to create a customized chart. But, if you just want to quickly create a basic chart from a table of data, there is a much easier way!

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    Shortcut for Creating Excel Charts

    Problem: You have to create a bunch of charts. You usually select all of the defaults in the Chart Wizard. Can you speed up the process?

    The Excel Chart Wizard is a very useful tool, especially if you're making several changes to the standard chart format or you want a little guidance on what type of chart to create from your data. At other times, the Chart Wizard just seems to get in the way and it can slow you down. This is particularly true if you need to create several Excel charts, and you want the task done as fast as possible.

    If you're faced with this latter scenario, there is a much quicker way to get the job done – you actually can create a chart from your data with a single click.

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    The One-Click Chart Method

    Strategy: You can create a chart with one keystroke! Select the data, including the headings and row labels, as shown in Fig. 1064. (Click any image in this article for a larger view.)

    Fig. 1064 

    Press the F11 key. The data is charted on a new chart sheet, as shown in Fig. 1065.

    Fig. 1065 

    Caution: If your data includes dates as labels, the upper left corner cell of the data range should be blank. Do not include a heading such as “Date" there.

    Additional Details: You can change the type of chart created with the single keystroke. While a chart is active, choose Chart – Chart Type. Select a Chart type and choose the button for Set as Default Chart, as shown in Fig. 1066. All future one-click charts will be created as this type.

    Fig. 1066 

    Summary: Create charts in a single click with the F11 key.

    Commands Discussed: Chart – Chart Type – Set as Default Chart

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    More Excel Tips

    Looking for more Excel tips that will improve your efficiency and productivity with the spreadsheet application? Be sure to take a look at the hundreds of other Microsoft Excel tutorials available here at Bright Hub, including the following collections.

    91 Tips for Calculating with Excel – This set of tutorials provides tips, tricks, and shortcuts for performing calculations in Excel. Written by Bill Jelen, also known as Mr. Excel, each of these short tutorials is accompanied by screenshots, step by step instructions, and a full working example to help illustrate the concept that is being discussed.

    Excel Formatting Tips from Mr. Excel – In addition to using Excel's formatting features to make your spreadsheet look more visually appealing, you can also use these capabilities to better organize and analyze your data. Find out how in this collection of 72 tips that are focused primarily on Excel's formatting abilities.

    Tips and Tricks for Creating Charts and Graphs in Microsoft Excel – Do you want to create a special chart like a scatter plot or Pareto chart? Excel's chart tools can be adapted for a full range of uses, beyond the simple basics found in the standard menus.