In later versions of Excel, starting with Excel 2013, the best option for creating a new chart is usually the Recommended Charts button on the Insert tab of the ribbon. Just select some data then go to Insert > Recommended Charts. Excel will open the Insert Chart window and list recommended charts, each with a preview. Excel’s recommended charts are meant to fit the data. They’re based on professionally designed templates, and generally they look pretty good. When you find the option you want, just select the thumbnail and click OK. Now, if you know in advance what chart type you want, you can also use the small icon menus to the right of to the Recommended chart menu to insert a chart. In these menus, you’ll need to hover over a thumbnail to see the preview, then just click to insert the chart. Notice when you use Recommended charts, the window has two tabs. The first tab is “Recommended charts” and the second tab is “All charts”. The All Charts tab allows you to see every chart option. It also has links to recent charts and any saved chart templates. Excel is generally very good at guessing the data you’d like want to chart. So, you can usually just select a single cell in the data, then create the chart. If you want to exclude data from the start, make a specific selection first. If you have the Quick Analysis option enabled, you can also use this icon to create a chart. Just select some data, then click the icon, then select Charts. From there you can explore suggested options, or click More to head over to Recommended charts. Excel provides shortcuts for creating charts. If you’re working on Windows, you can use a ribbon shortcut to insert a recommended chart. Select the data, then type: Alt + N + R You can also use two dedicated keyboard shortcuts for creating charts in one step: To create a chart on the same worksheet, select the data and use Alt + F1 To create a standalone chart in its own sheet, use F11. Both of these shortcuts will use the current default chart in Excel. To change the default chart, go to the All Charts tab in Recommended Charts, and right-click to set the default chart. Now when I use Alt F1 to create a chart, the new default is used.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.