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How to Create a Line Chart in Excel

You’ll want to choose a line chart when you need to chart something that changes over time.

Excel Instruction

Making a Line Chart

Make a frequency table of something that changes over time in Excel.
Highlight all the cells that make up the table, and choose the chart type Line chart.
Add chart elements and make changes so your chart appears informative and clear. Remember to include a title for your chart!

Example 1

Make a line chart that represents the temperature across several blocks of two hours.

First you’ll need some temperature measurements for different times throughout the day.

Data for temperatures at different times of day

Highlight the frequency table you’ve created and choose Insert from the top menu bar in Excel. Then select line chart from the Recommended Charts menu. If an appropriate line chart doesn’t appear, choose from the Line Chart menu next to the Recommended Charts menu.

Spreadsheet in Excel presenting line chart for temperature data.

This line chart looks pretty good already. To make it even clearer, you can add the axis title "Time" for the horizontal axis. You can also add different chart elements to customize it like you want, for example change the color of the line, or change range of temperatures to display along the vertical axis.

Spreadsheet in Excel presenting editing options for line chart

Spreadsheet in Excel presenting editing options for line chart

The final line chart should look like this:

Edited line chart

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