Microsoft Excel includes a wide variety of handy tools that are intended to help you analyze and present your data in style. These include a range of different types of graphs, each of which are suited for a particular type of data analysis.
One of these graphs is the scatter plot, which is an incredibly useful tool that helps you measure the correlation between two variables. But what are scatter plots exactly, and how can you plot one yourself in Excel?
Don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered! In this handy step-by-step guide, we’ll teach you all about scatter plots, from what they are to how to make them in Microsoft Excel.
So let’s get started!
What Is A Scatter Graph?
First of all, let’s take a closer look at what a scatter plot (or scatter graph) actually is.
Scatter plots are a type of graph or diagram used to represent points of data along an x- and y-axis.
Scatter graphs are great for presenting data that shows the relationship between two variables. This is especially useful for finding correlations between two variables – or, in some cases, a lack of correlation.
These graphs use a standard x-axis and y-axis, with the two different numeric variables along each axis. Traveling further along the axis with more data lets you see the correlation between these variables.
For example, a scatter graph determining the correlation between height and weight would have height on one axis and weight on the other.
Each participant’s height and weight would be plotted on the scatter graph, creating a cluster of ‘scattered’ dots that can show a direct correlation or lack thereof.There are some similarities between scatter graphs and line graphs, particularly in terms of structure.
However, line graphs have a much more linear scale that typically follows one connected line, while scatter plots can create a seemingly random array of points depending on the relationship between the two numeric variables.
How To Plot A Scatter Graph In Excel: A Step-By-Step Guide
Okay, so now that we’ve taken a brief look at what scatter graphs are, we can start learning how to plot your own in Microsoft Excel!
This is a really quick and simple process, and this handy guide will take you through each easy step so you can start plotting line graphs in no time!
Step 1) Open A New Excel Spreadsheet
First things first – you’re going to need a fresh spreadsheet to work with. Open up Microsoft Excel, and select New.
Then, click Blank Workbook to open up a new, blank spreadsheet; there are plenty of template spreadsheets to choose from, but for this you just need a blank one.
Step 2) Enter Your Data In The Spreadsheet
Next, you can start adding the data you want to be displayed in the scatter graph onto your spreadsheet. The way you do this is important, so make sure you’re following the proper process.
Start by labeling the first two columns (cells A1 and B1) with the names of your two data fields – if we’re using the same example as earlier, you would label A1 ‘Weight’ and B1 ‘Height’.
Make sure you also include the units of measurement in these titles (eg. lbs and inches) so it doesn’t get confusing.
Then, start filling in the values in each column. If one of the values you’re measuring was controlled by you, then put this in the A column. This defaults to the x-axis, which is where you need your control variable to be.
Step 3) Find The XY Scatter Chart Icon In The Insert Tab
Once you’ve filled in all of the data you’ve collected, you can now convert it into a scatter plot. Click and drag your mouse over all of the cells you filled in (including the titles) to highlight them.
Then, go to the menu banner at the top of the screen and navigate over to the Insert tab.
From here, look for the ‘Charts’ section. There’s an icon here that looks like a scatter graph – two axis with a set of dots inside. If you aren’t certain you’ve got the right one, hover your mouse above it; it will display the message “Insert Scatter”.
Click on this icon to bring up a small menu with different styles of scatter graphs. Click on the first one, which is the basic default.
This will create your scatter graph, with the values you entered already plotted!
Step 4) Add Labels And A Title
Your scatter graph isn’t complete yet, however. Now you need to add a main title along with labeling your axis.
Adding a title is easy. All you have to do is click on ‘Chart Title’ at the top of the graph, then enter the correct title.
It’s also easy to add labels to the axis, but you have to do a bit more searching. When the graph is selected, you’ll see a small plus icon (+) at the top right of the graph. Clicking on this will bring up a small menu on the left, labeled ‘Chart Elements’.
Here you can click on the ‘Axis Titles’ box to bring up text boxes on each axis. Now, you can fill them in with the right titles. Don’t forget to include the measurements!
You can also add the axis titles automatically by highlighting the text box for the axis, then going to the formula bar near the top of the screen and typing an equals sign (=).
Then, just click on the cell with the title in, and press enter on your keyboard to automatically update the axis label.
And there you are – now you know all there is to know about plotting a scatter graph, from what a scatter graph is to how to plot one yourself!
Scatter graphs are handy for a variety of reasons, and are a great way to analyze, present, and showcase your data on pretty much any two related variables.
So now that you know how to create your own scatter graphs in Microsoft Excel, you’ll be able to create stunning charts to present your data in no time! Now all you have to do is put your newfound skills to the test.