So you’ve got your data–now you need to represent it graphically. Let’s take a look at this site, which breaks down what each graph style is good for. The three common types of graphs are:
- Line graphs. Line graphs are useful for emphasizing the movement or trend of numerical data over time, since they allow a viewer to trace the evolution of a particular point by working backwards or interpolating. Highs and lows, rapid or slow movement, or a tendency towards stability are all types of trends that are well suited to a line graph.Line graphs can also be plotted with two or more scales to suggest a comparison of the same value, or set of values, in different time periods. The number of scales your graph has depends on the type of graph you select. There is a description of each available graph type on the Graph types tab of the Graph Assistant.
- Bar graphs. Bar graphs plot numerical data by displaying rectangular blocks against a scale. The length of a bar corresponds to a value or amount. Viewers can develop a clear mental image of comparisons among data series by distinguishing the relative heights of the bars. Use a bar graph to display numerical data when you want to present distributions of data. You can create horizontal as well as vertical bar graphs.
- Pie graphs. Pie graphs emphasize where your data fits in relation to a larger whole. Keep in mind that pie graphs work best when your data consists of several large sets. Too many variables divide the pie into small segments that are difficult to see. Use color or texture on individual segments to create visual contrast,
A good overview on making line graphs in Excel:
And if you want to make graphs with primary and secondary axes: