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These step-by-step instructions explain how to create a graph using Microsoft Excel. Any user with a set of data and access to the Excel program will be able to produce a graph by closely following these instructions. Each written instruction is accompanied by a picture to provide a visual aid. The set of data used in this example is number of M&Ms in a bag, but any quantitative data can be used to produce a graph by following these instructions.

Step 1: Startup Excel 2016

While this tutorial will work for most modern versions of Excel, we will be using the most recent 2016 edition.

For OS X:

  1. Open launch pad
  2. Open Excel
  3. Create a blank workbook

For Windows:

  1. Press start button
  2. Type Excel
  3. Open Excel
  4. Create a blank worksheet

Step 2: Record and Input Data

While you can use any simple quantitative data, for this example we will be counting the ratio of different colors of M&Ms.

For both OS X and Windows:

  1. Enter the categories of data into column A, beginning with the label in box A1. In this example, the label "colors" goes in box A1, and the colors of M&Ms are in boxes A2 - A6.
  2. Enter the corresponding data into column B, beginning with the label in box B1. In this example, the label "Number of M&Ms" goes in box B1, and the amounts of each corresponding color of M&Ms are in boxes B2 - B6.

Step 3: Produce the Graph

For OS X:

  1. Highlight the data, including the labels for each column by clicking and dragging while holding down the left mouse button.
  2. Click on the "Charts" tab at the top of the program.
  3. Choose the type of graph you wish to produce by clicking on one of the options under the heading "Insert Chart". For this example, we have chosen a pie chart.
  4. Choose the display style of your graph on the drop down menu that appears.

For Windows:

  1. Highlight the data, including the labels for each column by click and dragging while holding down the left mouse button.
  2. Click on the "Insert" tab at the top of the program.
  3. Choose the type of graph you wish to produce by clicking on one of the options under "recommended charts"
  4. Choose the display style for your graph on the menu that appears

Step 4: Add a Title and Labels

For OS X:

  1. Click anywhere within the boundaries of your chart to highlight it.
  2. Click on the "Chart Layout" tab at the top, then choose "Chart Title". Select a title style from the dropdown menu.
  3. Edit your title by clicking once on the actual chart title to highlight the text box, then again to allow the cursor to appear.
  4. Choose "Legend" (under "Chart Layout"). Select a legend style from the dropdown menu.
  5. Choose "Data Labels" (under "Chart Layout"). Select a label style from the dropdown menu.

For Windows:

  1. Simply double click on any of the pregenerated titles or labels to edit them.
  2. To add new labels, click the 'Add Chart Element' tab at the top left corner

Step 5: Edit Color Scheme

In this example, we will be matching the colors in the graph to the colors of M&Ms represented.

For OS X:

  1. Click on the "Format" tab, next to "Chart Layout" at the top.
  2. Click once on the pie graph to highlight the whole pie, then click on one "piece" of the pie to highlight that piece.
  3. To change the color of that piece, click on the drop down arrow next to the word "Fill", then choose a color.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each piece of the pie.

For Windows:

  1. Click on the "Format" tab right of the "Design" tab.
  2. Double click on the part of the graph you want to change.
  3. Select "Shape Fill" in the top-middle-right and choose the desired color
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each piece of the pie

Step 6: Save the Graph

For OS X:

  1. Right click (or two-finger click) anywhere within the boundaries of the graph.
  2. Choose "Save as Picture" from the drop-down menu that appears.
  3. Save the graph as an image to your computer for printing, emailing, uploading, etc.

For Windows:

  1. Right click anywhere within the boundaries of the graph.
  2. Choose "Save as template" from the drop-down menu that appears
  3. Select the location you want to save the graph.
<p>This is a useful tool :)</p>

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