• Insert a picture in PowerPoint Article
  • Edit pictures Article
  • Add SmartArt to a slide Article
  • Put a background picture on your slides Article
  • Add a background picture to slides Article
  • Use charts and graphs in your presentation Article
  • Insert icons in PowerPoint Article

how to create a powerpoint graph

Use charts and graphs in your presentation

You can make a chart in PowerPoint or Excel. If you have lots of data to chart, create your chart in Excel , and then copy it into your presentation . This is also the best way if your data changes regularly and you want your chart to always reflect the latest numbers. In that case, when you copy and paste the chart, keep it linked to the original Excel file .

To create a simple chart from scratch in PowerPoint, click Insert > Chart and pick the chart you want.

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Click Insert > Chart .

shows the insert chart button in powerpoint

Click the chart type and then double-click the chart you want.

Shows column chart selection in powerpoint

Tip:  For help deciding which chart is best for your data, see Available chart types .

In the worksheet that appears, replace the placeholder data with your own information.

Spreadsheet showing default data for chart

When you’ve finished, close the worksheet.

Create an org chart in PowerPoint

Create charts in Excel

Important:  Office 2010 is no longer supported . Upgrade to Microsoft 365 to work anywhere from any device and continue to receive support. Upgrade now

On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click Chart .

The Illustrations group on the Insert tab

In the Insert Chart dialog box, click the arrows to scroll through the chart types.

Select the type of chart that you want and then click OK .

You can choose from many different types of graphs in the Insert Chart dialog box

Tip:  When you rest the mouse pointer over any chart type, a ScreenTip displays its name.

Edit the data in Excel 2010.

When you are finished editing your data, you can close Excel.

Click the File tab and then click Close . The chart in PowerPoint is automatically updated with the new data.

You can modify the chart in PowerPoint, including changes to appearance, size or position. Click the chart, then on the green Chart Tools tab, use the Design , Layout or Format tab to make changes. To add animation effects to the chart, use tools on the Animations tab.

The Chart Tools tab appears when you click a chart.

Note:  If you don't see the Chart Tools , make sure that you click anywhere inside the chart to activate it.

You can change chart data in PowerPoint. Click the chart, then on the green Chart Tools tab, select the Design tab, and then click Edit Data . For more details, see Change the data in an existing chart .

Top of page

To get a good idea of what you can add to or change in your chart, under Chart Tools , click the Design , Layout , and Format tabs, and then explore the groups and options that are provided on each tab.

The Chart Tools contextual tab will only appear if you have selected your chart.

You can also access design, layout, and formatting features that are available for specific chart elements (such as chart axes or the legend) by right-clicking those chart elements.

Some types of charts, such as organization charts, flow charts, hierarchical diagrams, or showing repetitive information, might be more easily and effectively created using SmartArt.

More information

For more information about how to insert a linked Excel chart, see Insert a linked Excel chart in PowerPoint 2010 .

For more information about how to edit data in a chart, see Edit data in a chart .

Important:  Office 2007 is no longer supported . Upgrade to Microsoft 365 to work anywhere from any device and continue to receive support. Upgrade now

Insert a chart or graph in your presentation

In PowerPoint 2007, click the placeholder that you want to contain the chart.

In the Insert Chart dialog box, click a chart, and then click OK .

Office Excel 2007 opens in a split window and displays sample data on a worksheet.

Figure 1: Sample data on an Excel worksheet

In Excel, to replace the sample data, click a cell on the worksheet, and then type the data that you want.

You can also replace the sample axis labels in Column A and the legend entry name in Row 1 .

Note:  After you update the worksheet, the chart in PowerPoint 2007 updates automatically with the new data.

When you are finished inputting the data in Excel, on the File menu, click Close .

Note:  To change the data in a chart you've inserted,      use the Edit Data command. To learn more about the Edit Data command, see Change the data in an existing chart .

Paste an Excel chart or graph into your presentation and link to data in Excel

You create and copy the chart or graph in Office Excel 2007 and then paste it into your PowerPoint 2007 presentation. When you update the data in the linked Office Excel 2007 file, you can update the chart in PowerPoint by using the Refresh Data command.

To learn more about copying and pasting Excel charts and graphs into your PowerPoint presentation, see the article Copy an Excel chart to another Office program .

Note:  If you want to be able to automatically update or refresh the data in your chart or graph, you must save the Excel file before inserting the chart or graph.

In Excel, select the chart by clicking its border, and then on the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Cut .

In PowerPoint 2007, click the placeholder on the slide or notes page that you want to insert the chart on.

On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click the arrow under Paste , and then click Paste .

Create an organization chart, a timeline, or add a chart from Excel

To create an organization chart , see the article Create an organization chart .

To create a timeline using a SmartArt graphic, see the article Create a SmartArt graphic .

To learn about the different types of Excel charts that you can add to your PowerPoint slides, see the article Available chart types .

Overview of data charting and graphing

You can add a data chart or graph to your presentation in one of two ways:

You can create a chart or graph in your presentation.     When you create a new chart in PowerPoint 2007, you edit the data for that chart in Office Excel 2007, but the data is saved with the PowerPoint file.

You can paste an Excel chart or graph into your presentation and link to the data in an Office Excel 2007 file.     When you copy a chart from a saved Office Excel 2007 file and paste it into your presentation, the data in the chart is linked to that Excel file. If you want to change the data in the chart, you must make your changes to the linked worksheet in Office Excel 2007 and then refresh the data in your PowerPoint presentation. The Excel worksheet is a separate file and is not saved with the PowerPoint file.

Note:  If you open a presentation that was created in an earlier version of PowerPoint and the presentation contains a graph or chart that was created by using Microsoft Graph, PowerPoint 2007 maintains the look and feel of the graph or chart and lets you continue to update your graph or chart.

Figure 2: A chart in PowerPoint that is made up of sample data from an Excel worksheet

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How to Create a Chart in Microsoft PowerPoint

Sandy Writtenhouse

Because charts and graphs make such beautiful visuals, you may want to include one in your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. You can create a chart within PowerPoint or insert one you create in Excel: two easy ways to add a helpful visual.

Also helpful: moving text from Word into PowerPoint? Learn how to copy formatted text from one to the other and save yourself time!

How to Create a Chart in PowerPoint

How to insert an excel chart in powerpoint, how to customize a chart in powerpoint, frequently asked questions.

You can set up a chart in PowerPoint and add the data for it in one complete process. This gives you an excellent way to create a chart quickly and easily.

  • Select the slide where you want the chart. If you have a content block on the chart already, you’ll see the icon for “Insert Chart” that you can click to get started.

Insert Chart icon in Powerpoint

  • If you have a blank slide instead, add your chart by going to the “Insert” menu and selecting “Chart” in the Illustrations group.

Chart on the Insert tab in PowerPoint

  • You’ll see the Insert Chart window open with either of the above options. Choose a chart type from the left to see layouts and styles with a preview on the right and click “OK” to insert the chart. For example, we are selecting “Pie” on the left and the “3-D Pie” style on the right.

Insert Chart window in PowerPoint

  • You’ll see a spreadsheet with sample data for the selected chart type. Replace the example data with your own.

Chart data in PowerPoint

  • As you adjust the data in the sheet, you’ll notice the chart update immediately. When you finish adding the data, click the “X” on the top right to close the spreadsheet.

Edited chart data in PowerPoint

  • To edit the data for your chart later, go to the “Chart Design” tab and open the “Edit Data” menu. Select either “Edit Data” or “Edit Data in Excel.”

Edit Data options in the ribbon in PowerPoint

Tip : if you use Google Slides in addition to PowerPoint, you can insert a chart in Slides , too!

Maybe you already have a chart in Microsoft Excel that you’d like to use in your PowerPoint slideshow. This is as simple as a copy and paste of the chart. Depending on how you want to update the chart later, there are a handful of ways to paste the chart into PowerPoint.

  • Open your Excel sheet and select the chart, then either right-click and choose “Copy” or use the “Copy” button on the “Home” tab.

Copy an Excel chart

  • Go to the slide in PowerPoint where you want to insert the Excel chart. Select the “Paste” drop-down arrow on the “Home” tab, then choose one of the “Paste Options” described below.

Paste options on the Home tab in PowerPoint

  • Use Destination Theme & Embed Workbook : insert the chart with your PowerPoint theme.
  • Keep Source Formatting & Embed Workbook : retain the chart’s original formatting and insert it.

With the above two options, you can edit the chart data independently without affecting the original data in Excel. Right-click the chart, select “Edit Data,” and make your changes in the sheet that appears.

Edit Excel data for a PowerPoint chart

  • Use Destination Theme & Link Data : use your PowerPoint theme, insert the chart, and link the data.
  • Keep Source Formatting & Link Data : retain the chart’s formatting, insert it, and link the data.

With the above two options, your chart will update automatically in PowerPoint when you make changes to it in Excel. You can also manually update the chart by selecting it and clicking “Refresh Data” on the “Chart Design” tab.

Refresh Data for an Excel chart in PowerPoint

  • Picture : insert the chart as a static image.

With the Picture option, you cannot edit or update the chart as the data changes. Like any other picture, this is a static image that is inserted in PowerPoint.

Pasted a Picture as a chart in PowerPoint

  • You’ll see your chart pop onto your slide using the paste option you chose.

Good to know: sometimes PowerPoint can be limiting, but these PowerPoint alternatives may offer more features for charts and other graphics.

Whether you create the chart in PowerPoint or paste it from Excel, you can customize its elements and appearance.

Note : this does not apply if you paste the chart as an image.

Use the Chart Design Tab

Select the chart and go to the “Chart Design” tab that is displayed. Use the tools in the ribbon to customize the chart.

  • Add Chart Element : add or position items, such as axis titles, data labels, and a legend.
  • Quick Layout : choose a different style or layout for the chart.
  • Change Colors : choose a new color scheme for the chart.
  • Chart Styles : select a design for the chart.
  • Change Chart Type : choose a different type of chart or graph.

Chart Design tab in PowerPoint

The items in the “Data” section of the ribbon may or may not be available, depending on how you paste the chart on your slide. For instance, you may be able to switch rows and columns, select the data for the chart, edit the data, or refresh the chart.

Use the Format Chart Sidebar or Format Tab

If you’d like to add a chart border, customize the font, or adjust the position or size of the chart, right-click the chart and select “Format Chart Area.” Alternatively, select the chart and use the “Format” tab.

Use the available tools to make your changes.

Format tab and Format Chart sidebar in Powerpoint

Use the Chart Buttons on Windows

In PowerPoint on Windows, you can also use the three buttons that display to the right when you select the chart. These allow you to work with Chart Elements, Styles, and Filters.

You can add and remove items, choose a color scheme, or filter the chart according to specific data.

Chart buttons in PowerPoint on Windows

Why do I see the Picture Format tab when I select my chart?

When you select your chart in PowerPoint, you should see the “Chart Design” tab display. If you see the “Picture Format” tab instead, it means that you pasted the chart as a picture rather than a chart.

How can I stop accidentally moving or resizing my chart?

It can be easy to mistakenly move your chart or resize it slightly as you work on your slide. To avoid this, you can lock the chart.

Right-click the chart in PowerPoint and select “Lock.” This keeps the chart in place on the slide and does not allow you to drag, move, or resize it. To undo this later, right-click and select “Unlock.”

Can I save a chart I create in PowerPoint for use elsewhere?

You can save a PowerPoint chart as an image, then insert it in another application, in an email, or in a blog post. Right-click the chart, select “Save as Picture,” and choose a location to save the image along with the picture format you want to use.

Image credit: Pixabay . All screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.

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Sandy Writtenhouse

With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

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COMMENTS

  1. Use charts and graphs in your presentation

    To create a simple chart from scratch in PowerPoint, click Insert > Chart and pick the chart you want. Click Insert > Chart. Click the chart type and then double-click the chart you want. Tip: For help deciding which chart is best for your data, see Available chart types.

  2. How to Create a Chart in Microsoft PowerPoint

    Open your Excel sheet and select the chart, then either right-click and choose “Copy” or use the “Copy” button on the “Home” tab. Go to the slide in PowerPoint where you want to insert the Excel chart. Select the “Paste” drop-down arrow on the “Home” tab, then choose one of the “Paste Options” described below.

  3. How to Make PPT Charts and Graphs in PowerPoint

    In this screencast, you’ll learn how to quickly make a chart in MS PowerPoint. Download unlimited PPT templates: https://elements.envato.com/presentation-t...