How to Create and Customize a Bubble Chart in Excel

Bubble charts are a great way to visualize and compare three sets of data simultaneously. They’re particularly useful when you have a dataset with three variables. Here’s how you can create and customize a bubble chart in Excel:

Add a Different Layout


Creating a Bubble Chart:

  • Go to the Insert tab in Excel.
  • Click on Insert Scatter (X, Y) or Bubble Chart.
  • Choose either Bubble or 3-D Bubble.

Select Bubble Chart

  • A blank chart will be created.
  • Right-click on the blank chart and select Select Data.

Select Data for Bubble Chart

  • Click on Add to add series data.

Add Bubble Chart Data

  • Choose a Series name.
  • Select the appropriate X and Y values (e.g., C5:C9 for X and D5:D9 for Y).
  • Choose the bubble size (e.g., E5:E9) and click OK.

Insert Chart Values

  • This will create a 2-D bubble chart.

Create a 2D Bubble Chart in Excel

  • If you prefer a 3-D bubble chart, select that option from the chart settings.

Create a 3D Bubble Chart in Excel


Customizing the Bubble Chart in Excel

1. Add data Labels

  • Click on the Chart Elements icon and check the box for Data Labels.
  • Position the labels as needed.

Add data labels to Bubble Chart in Excel


2. Add Axis Title

  • Similarly, check the box for Axis Titles in the Chart Elements menu.
  • Customize the axis titles based on your preference.

Add Axis Titles to Bubble Chart in Excel


3. Apply Different layout

  • Go to the Chart Design tab.
  • Choose a chart layout that suits your requirements.

Add a Different Layout

  • The chart layout will update accordingly.

Changed Layout


4. Change Color, Outline and effects

  • Click on the Chart Styles icon and select the Color tab.
  • Choose a color combination to change the bubble colors.

Change Color of Bubble Chart

  • As a result, the bubbles in the chart will have your chosen color.

Changed Color of Bubble Chart

  • You can further format the chart by double-clicking on it to open a side panel with additional options (e.g., Fill, Border).

Format Bubble Chart

Read More: How to Color Excel Bubble Chart Based on Value


Creating a Bubble Map in Excel

  • Select the cells containing your data (e.g., B4 to C18).
  • Go to Insert → Insert Scatter (X, Y) or Bubble Chart → Scatter.

Plot a Scatter Chart

  • Right-click on the chart and choose Change Chart Type.

Change Chart Type

  • Select X Y (Scatter) and then choose Bubble.
  • Press OK to convert it into a bubble chart.

Convert Chart to Bubble Chart

  • Right-click on the chart and select Select Data.

Select Chart Data

  • Click on Edit to open the Edit Series box.

Edit Chart Series

  • Choose the bubble size (e.g., E5:E18) and press OK.

Edit Bubble Size

  • Add Data Labels as before.

Add Data Labels

Adding a World Map Image:

  • Double-click on the plot area to open the Format Plot Area side panel.
  • Click on the Fill & Line icon and select Picture or Texture Fill.
  • Click Insert under the Picture Source option.

Format Plot Area

  • Insert an image of the world map (from your PC or online).

Insert World Map Picture

  • You now have your desired bubble map.

Create a bubble Map in Excel

Read More: How to Create Bubble Chart in Excel


Download Practice Workbook

You can download the practice workbook from here:


Things to Remember

  • Format data labels, bubble size, and color to enhance chart readability.
  • Ensure correct X and Y values so that bubbles overlap correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is a Bubble Chart in Data Visualization?
    • A bubble chart is a useful way to visualize data with two to four dimensions. In this chart:
      • Two dimensions are visualized as coordinates (typically X and Y).
      • The third dimension is represented by the color of the bubbles.
      • The fourth dimension is reflected in the size of the bubbles.
  2. Difference Between Bubbles and Scatter Plots:
    • Scatter plots are ideal for datasets with two variables. They show the relationship between these two variables.
    • Bubble charts, on the other hand, are used when you need to present and analyze a dataset that has three variables. They provide additional information through bubble size and color.
  3. Advantages of Bubble Charts in Excel:
    • Bubble charts help:
      • Explain complex data patterns.
      • Analyze data involving three variables.
      • Make datasets more comprehensible by visualizing multiple dimensions.

Bubble Chart in Excel: Knowledge Hub


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Alif Bin Hussain
Alif Bin Hussain

Alif Bin Hussain earned a BSc in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. As an engineering graduate, he has a deep passion for research and innovation. He loves to play with Excel. In his role as an Excel & VBA Content Developer at ExcelDemy, he not only solves tricky problems but also shows enthusiasm and expertise in handling tough situations with finesse, emphasizing his dedication to delivering top-notch content. He is interested in C, C++,... Read Full Bio

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