How to Make a Chart in PowerPoint

Understanding Chart Types

When deciding what type of chart to use in your PowerPoint presentation, consider the message you want to convey and the type of data you are presenting.

Some common chart types and their uses:

  • Bar charts – Compare different values across categories. Useful for time-series data.
  • Line charts – Show trends and changes over time. Good for showing progression.
  • Pie charts – Display parts of a whole. Effective for showing percentages or proportions.
  • Scatter plots – Reveal relationships between variables. Helpful for statistical data.

Key considerations:

  • The number of data categories and data series
  • Whether you want to highlight trends or comparisons
  • If you need to show changes over time
  • If percentages or statistical relationships are most important

Inserting a Chart

Inserting a basic chart in PowerPoint only takes a few clicks:

  • Navigate to the Insert tab
  • Click the Chart icon
  • Select the desired chart type
  • An Excel worksheet will appear – enter your chart data
  • Format and customize the chart on the slide

Tips when inserting charts:

  • Place charts on blank slides for clean look
  • Resize and position charts for better visibility
  • Only include key data to keep charts simple
  • Use chart styles for professional appearance
  • Consider Excel for more complex data

Modifying and Updating Charts

Customizing charts helps emphasize key data points and improves overall appearance.

To modify basic chart elements:

  • Click on chart and Chart Tools menu appears
  • Use Design and Format tabs to access options
  • Change chart layout, style, colors
  • Add titles, labels, gridlines

To update the chart data:

  • Select Edit Data in Design tab
  • Data worksheet will reappear
  • Modify data values and ranges
  • Close worksheet and chart updates

Advanced formatting:

  • Use shapes, text boxes for callouts
  • Animate chart elements
  • Add images and icons
  • Link charts to Excel for automatic updates

Design Best Practices for Charts

Follow these guidelines when designing charts for professional, effective visuals:

  • Keep it simple – Only include essential info
  • Label properly – Axis titles, data labels
  • Use color intentionally – Limit to 2-3 colors
  • Pick appropriate styles – Enhance, don’t distract
  • Show clear trends/relationships – Emphasize key data
  • Make it readable – Good size, layout, fonts

Well-designed charts improve understanding of data, highlight key insights, and make presentations more convincing and memorable.

Saving and Exporting Charts

To reuse charts:

  • Save as PowerPoint template
  • Export as image to insert in other apps
  • Copy/paste into other Office documents

To edit later:

  • Right click > Save as Picture to save current view
  • Keep linked to Excel data source

To access and distribute charts:

  • Upload to cloud storage like OneDrive
  • Share link or PowerPoint file
  • Export as PDF to retain formatting

Properly saving charts makes them accessible and provides flexibility for other use cases down the road.