Visualizing data in the form of time series graphs is a powerful technique for identifying trends and patterns in data over time. In Excel, you can easily create a time series graph using the built-in charting tools. By plotting data points on a time axis, you can gain valuable insights into how variables change over time and use this information to make informed decisions. In this article, we will walk you through the 3 methods of how to make a time series graph in Excel, including how to format the chart to make it clear and easy to read.
In the following, you will find an overview of making a time series graph in Excel.
What Is a Time Series Graph?
A time series graph is a type of chart that displays data points over time, usually in chronological order. It is commonly used to represent trends or patterns in data, and can be used to analyze data from a wide range of fields such as finance, economics, engineering, and science. A time series chart typically consists of two axes, with time represented on the horizontal axis (x-axis) and the variable being measured plotted on the vertical axis (y-axis). The data points are then connected by lines or curves to show the trend over time.
Benefits of Using Time Series Graph
Showing trends and patterns: By plotting data over time, you can see how values change and whether there are any regular patterns or cycles.
Highlighting outliers: Time series graphs can help you identify outliers or unusual values that may be of interest.
Comparing different time periods: Time series graphs allow you to compare data from different time periods, such as year-over-year or month-over-month comparisons.
Forecasting future trends: By analyzing past trends and patterns, you can use time series graphs to make predictions about future values.
How to Make a Time Series Graph in Excel: 3 Useful Methods
In the following, I have shared simple steps to make a time series graph in Excel.
1. Making a Time Series Graph Using Scatter Chart
Suppose we have a dataset of Sales of Television, Sales of Refrigerator, Sales of Air Conditioner, Sales of Washing Machine monthwise in a table. Now we will make a time graph using this data table.
- First, start by selecting columns and then choosing Scatter Chart from the Insert tab.
- Thus, you will get a time series graph in your worksheet.
Note: Sometimes you will get to see numbers instead of month names on the X or Y-axis of the graph. If you face this problem, then you can change the format of the cells by following the below instructions.
- Primarily, you have to put the first dates of months e.g. 1/1/2023 instead of the month name, and press CTRL+1 to open the Format Cells window.
- Then, choose the Custom option, type “mmm” and hit OK.
- This way, you will get the month name shown inside a chart instead of numbers.
- You can also change the Units from the Format Axis feature to display all month names in the horizontal axis.
Read More: How to Make a Graph from a Table in Excel
2. Using Dual Axis Line Chart to Make a Time Series Graph
In some situations, you can also try the dual axis line chart. Follow the instructions below.
- Choose your desired cell ranges and click Recommended Charts option from the Insert tab.
- Thereafter, select a line chart from the list and hit OK.
- As a result, you will get a time series graph with the help of a dual axis line graph. Simple, isn’t it?
3. Making a Time Series Graph Using Stacked Area Chart
A stacked area chart is a type of data visualization that can be used to create a time series graph, which shows how a particular variable changes over time. For better visualization, you can use the stacked area chart.
- Select columns and click Recommended Charts from the Insert tab.
- Then, choose a Stacked Area chart from the list and hit OK.
- In conclusion, we have successfully created a time graph using a stacked area chart in Excel.
Things to Remember
- While creating a time series graph, make sure the dates and times are properly formatted and displayed on the horizontal axis. Excel has a built-in feature for formatting dates, which can be found under the Format Axis option.
- After creating a chart you can format it by adding titles, labels, and other elements.
- If you want to modify your chart you can try various customization options, such as changing the chart type, adding trendlines or error bars, and applying different colors and styles to your data points.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of data are suitable for a time series graph in Excel?
Any data that changes over time can be displayed in a time series graph in Excel. This includes sales figures, stock prices, website traffic, and more.
- Can we add multiple data series to a time series graph in Excel?
Yes, you can add multiple data series to a time series graph in Excel. This allows you to compare trends or patterns between different sets of data. To add multiple data series, simply select the additional data range and add it to the chart.
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In conclusion, creating a time series graph in Excel is a useful way to visualize data that changes over time. To create a time series graph, you should ensure that the date-time axis is formatted correctly, choose an appropriate chart type, and label the axes clearly. Take a tour of the practice workbook and download the file to practice by yourself. Please inform us in the comment section about your experience.