PowerPoint 2013: Charts


Charts and graphs are an essential part of most presentations. They allow you to visually display data and statistics to make them easier for your audience to understand.

PowerPoint 2013 provides a wide variety of chart types to choose from, making it easy to find the perfect chart to suit your data and presentation goals.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about working with charts in PowerPoint 2013, from creating your first chart to customizing and formatting charts professionally.

Creating a Chart

Inserting a Chart

To insert a chart in PowerPoint 2013, follow these simple steps:

  1. Select the slide where you want the chart to appear
  2. Go to the Insert tab on the ribbon
  3. Click the Chart button in the Illustrations group
  4. Select the desired chart type from the drop-down menu

A blank chart will be inserted into the slide with sample data. Now you can replace this with your own data.

Entering Chart Data

There are a few ways to enter data for your chart in PowerPoint 2013:

  • Manually – Replace the sample data by typing directly into the chart data sheet
  • Copy/paste from Excel – Simply copy your data from an Excel spreadsheet and paste it into PowerPoint
  • Link to Excel – Link the chart to an Excel file so it updates automatically when the source data changes

The easiest option is usually to copy and paste the data, but linking the chart means you won’t have to update it manually if the data changes later on.

Modifying and Formatting Charts

Once your chart is inserted with the correct data, you can customize its appearance in many ways through the Chart Tools tabs on the ribbon.

Changing the Chart Type

If you don’t like the initial chart type you selected, you can easily change it by going to Design > Change Chart Type and selecting a new one. All the data will remain intact.

Switching Rows and Columns

Use the Switch Row/Column button on the Design tab to quickly swap the rows and columns in your chart data. This allows you to alter the visual display when appropriate.

Applying Chart Styles

To change the color scheme or style of your chart, use the Chart Styles section on the Design tab. There are many professionally designed styles to choose from.

Formatting Chart Elements

Customize the appearance of specific elements like the chart title, legend, data labels, and more through the Format tab. For example, you can:

  • Change font sizes and colors
  • Add borders, shadows or other graphical effects
  • Position elements in different locations

Chart Types

Below are some of the most commonly used chart types and when to use them:

  • Column charts – Compare different values vertically
  • Bar charts – Compare values horizontally
  • Line charts – Display trends over time
  • Pie charts – Show proportional data in a circle divided into slices

There are many more types for other data visualization needs. Choose the one that best represents your data!

Tips for Creating Effective Charts

Follow these tips to create clean, easy-to-understand charts in your PowerPoint presentations:

  • Label your axes and include units of measurement
  • Only display 5-7 data series on one chart
  • Use data markers on line charts to highlight key data points
  • Keep legends short and easy to read
  • Avoid unnecessary chart clutter like gridlines
  • Pick color schemes that match your presentation theme

Well-formatted charts allow your audience to quickly interpret data rather than trying to figure out complex graphs. Spending time customizing your PowerPoint charts pays off!

Sample Charts

Below are a few examples of charts created in PowerPoint 2013 to give you some design inspiration:

Column Chart

Displays monthly revenue over the past year:

Column Chart Example

Line Chart

Tracks website traffic growth over several years:

Line Chart Example

Pie Chart

Breakdown of market share by competitor:

Pie Chart Example


Charts make data more visual, easier to digest, and ultimately more engaging for your audience. PowerPoint 2013 provides all the tools you need to create stunning, informative charts to include in your presentations.

By following this guide on inserting, formatting, and customizing charts, you’ll be able to build effective data visualizations like a pro! Use the wide selection of chart types to best display your numbers and wow your audience.