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How to create simple charts


Creating tables is one very important feature of any spreadsheet. When you have the information you need, the next step is to be able to present it as well as possible. We have covered simple formatting in a previous lesson. This lesson will be about how to present the information visually, with a minimum of numbers and other informations using graphs. We’ll start off with a table and end up with different graphs, all showing the same informations in different views.
Calc is very good at crunching numbers for you, but it's also a very capable tool for displaying numbers visually as well. In this lesson we'll show you how to create a chart from a table, which is the most common way of creating charts.

First, start by typing this simple table. At the bottom column called “Visitors”, in cell B9, type this formula:

Feel free to format as you wish, the formatting of this table shown here is just an example.

Now, select the area A1:B8 by click-hold-and drag. By including the first line, Calc will automatically insert the text from the first line into the graph for you.

Click the Chart button. If it doesn't show on you computer, you can go to the Insert menu and choose Chart...

This will take you to a wizard, that helps you set up the chart quickly and painlessly. On the left hand side of the wizard, you see the different steps you go through, which helps you to both keep track of where you are in the process and also allows you to jump back and forth quickly.

In this case, we'll start with the chart that Calc suggests, which is a Column chart, and we choose the the first one of the three options on the right, which is called “Normal”.

Click the [Next >>] button to go to the Data Range section. Since we already have defined the area we want to use by selecting it just before starting the wizard, this step is pretty much redundant now.

Press the [Next >>] button to go to the Data Series section. And, again, this area is also redundant, since we did a thorough job before starting the wizard and included not just the data, but also the descriptions. If we hadn't done that, we could define those here.

Press the [Next >>] button to go to the Chart elements section. This is where we can add some information to the chart to be more descriptive, and where we can remove redundant elements. In this case, we can remove the legend by un-checking the Display Legend. As we only have one series of data, it's pretty unnecessary, or what?

We'll add some text to the Title: Visitors at MySite.net
Then some text to the sub-title: One week
X axis describes what the horizontal line is, which is: Day of week
Y axis describes what the vertical line is, which is: Number of visitors
Now click [Finish] to display the resulting chart.

Pretty easy, eh? The chart should look something like this:OpenOffice.orgScreenSnapz008

We'll modify it slightly now, to make it a little bit more suited to our needs and desires.

Go to cell C1 and enter Unique visitors, and then fill out like you see below here:

Use the =SUM()-formula in cell C9 to sum the cells above:

Continue with adding the column D. The formula in cell D2 is:

Copy this cell all the way down to cell D8. Then copy cell C9 to D9. When you are ready, it should look something like this:

Now we will try to change the chart to show the information from these two columns, preferably without starting from scratch!

Double-click the chart, and then right-click the chart. Select Data Ranges... If the tab Data Range isn't select it, do so. At the top of the window there is a Data range-field, now click the button to the right.

Now the window shrinks drastically to allow you to select the areas you want to add. To add more more data to the chart, you need to click at the end of the text that's already in the Data range-field, so that the text is de-selected:

Type a semicolon at the end of the field. Mark the area you want to add to the chart by left-clicking and dragging. Mark the C1:D8 area, like this:

Now click the button at the right of the floating window, and you're brought back to the main window. Click [OK], and you're done! Now your chart should show you data from all the columns, something like this:

Try to experiment with this. We will later make more tutorials on how to edit charts, and how to use them more creatively, but the best way of learning how to use charts, is by trial-and-error.