PowerPoint XP: Adding Charts, Diagrams, and Tables

Adding visual elements like charts, diagrams, and tables to your PowerPoint XP presentations can make the information you are presenting more engaging and easier to understand. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps for adding these elements to your slides.


Charts allow you to visually display data in your presentation. Here’s how to add one:

  • Click the chart icon in the toolbar or go to Insert > Chart. This will insert a basic chart and open the datasheet.
  • Enter your data into the datasheet. You can add or delete rows/columns as needed.
  • Edit the maximum value for the value axis if needed. PowerPoint will automatically set this based on your data, but you can manually change it under Chart Options.
  • Change the chart type if desired by going to Chart > Chart Type. Some good options are column, bar, line, or pie charts.
  • Add chart elements like titles, legends, data labels, etc. under Chart Options. This helps make your chart more readable.
  • Format the colors, fonts, etc. using the formatting options under Chart Tools once the chart is inserted.


Diagrams allow you to illustrate concepts, structures, workflows, and more. To add a diagram:

  • Click the diagram icon in the toolbar or go to Insert > Diagram.
  • Choose the type of diagram you want from the dialog box like organization chart, cycle, pyramid, Venn diagram, and more.
  • Edit the diagram placeholders by clicking inside the shapes and typing your text.
  • Change the diagram layout or style using the Design and Format tabs.
  • Resize objects by clicking and dragging the sizing handles on the sides.


Tables help organize information logically in rows and columns. Here’s how to create one:

  • Go to Insert > Table and choose the number of columns/rows needed in the dialog box.
  • Enter your information into the table cells. Use the Tab key to move between cells.
  • Change borders, shading, fonts using the Table Tools > Design tab.
  • Resize the table by clicking and dragging the handles around the perimeter.
  • Distribute rows/columns evenly using the Distribute Rows/Columns buttons in the Sizing group under Table Tools.

Tips for Using Charts, Diagrams and Tables

Here are some additional tips:

  • Make sure your fonts, colors and effects coordinate with the slide design theme for a consistent look.
  • Keep the visuals simple. Avoid overloading them with too much detail or effects.
  • Place close to related information on the slide but leave enough white space around them.
  • Size them appropriately so they are readable on screen and in printed handouts.
  • Use the gridlines while positioning to help align them properly on the slide.
  • Test them thoroughly in both edit and presentation mode to confirm they display as expected.
  • Update them if the data changes to keep your presentation current.

With some practice, adding charts, diagrams and tables becomes quick and easy. Just remember to keep the design clean, simple and focused. Let me know if you have any other questions!