Step 3 lets you enter a Chart t
itle and axes labels. Click on the Chart t
window, and enter Sine wave. Then click in the Va
lue (X) Axis window, and
enter angle. Finally, click in the V
alue (Y) Axis window, and enter sine. A
picture will show you what your graph is going to look like.
There are other things you can specify at this point, such as the axes, grid-
lines, legends, and data labels, but we will forgo them here in order to keep
things simple for now, and to illustrate later how to modify the end product.
So, on to the Next>.
Step 4 deﬁnes the chart location, either As a new s
heet, or As o
bject in a
spreadsheet page. Select the latter, and F
inish. This will place the graph on
Now click on the graph, preferably inside its outer frame near its left edge,
where the computer cannot misinterpret your command. This will adorn
the graph with eight black handles, which allow you to change its size and
location. First, locate the mouse pointer on the graph, depress the mouse
button, and while keeping it down move the graph to any place you like on
the spreadsheet, preferably somewhere where it does not block data from
view. To release, simply release the mouse button. Note that the graph as it
were ﬂoats on the page, and does not obliterate the underlying information.
To ﬁt the graph in the cell grid, depress the Alt key, then (while keeping Alt
depressed) bring the mouse pointer to a handle in the middle of the side of
the graph, where the pointer should change into a two-sided arrow, and pull
that pointer toward a cell boundary. Repeat with the other sides. For greater
eﬃciency you can combine this for two adjacent sides by pulling or pushing
on two opposing corners.
In the ﬁnal result, click on the little rectangular box to the right of the
graph, then press Delete.
If you want to remove the gray background (which seldom prints well) just
click somewhere in the plot area (where the label shows Plot Area), right-
click, highlight Fo
rmat Plot Area, and under Area either select None
or, in the
choice of colors, click on white. Exit with OK.
If you want to get rid of the horizontal grid lines, point to them (the label
will identify Value (Y) Axis Major Gridlines), right-click, and select Clea
To change the range of the x-scale, point to the axis (the label will show
Value (X) Axis), right-click, select Fo
rmat Axis, and under the Scale tab pick
the scale properties you want. And, while you’re at it, please note that you
can also change the font, size, color, position, and alignment of the numbers
of the x-axis. Ditto for the numbers on the vertical axis.
To change the type of graph itself, point at the curve, right-click, and select
rmat Data Series. Then for the Line pick the S
olor, and W
like, and for Marker the S
orground and B
ackground color, and Siz
And so it goes: you can point at virtually every detail of the graph, and
modify it to your taste. Figure 1.3-2 shows you what you might have wrought.
How to use Excel
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Making a graph in Excel 5or Excel 95
If this is your ﬁrst reading,and you use Excel 97,Excel 98,or Excel 2000,skip to
the last two paragraphs of this section.
Go with the mouse pointer to the menu bar, click on I
nsert, and in the
resulting drop-down submenu click on Ch
art. A second box will appear,
which lets you select a graph either O
n the spreadsheet, or A
s a separate
sheet. Select the former by clicking on it. You will now see a succession of
ChartWizard boxes that let you specify how the graph should look. You can
achieve the same result with the keystrokes Alt+i, Alt+h, Alt+o, Enter, with
i for I
nsert, h for Ch
art, etc. Either method will produce a dialog box labeled
The ﬁrst ChartWizard box, labeled Step 1 of 5, asks you what area of the
spreadsheet you want to be graphed. Since you already selected that area,
the window with the heading R
ange should show=$A$3:$B$11. If it does,
move the pointer to the Next>button, and click. If it does not, ﬁrst move the
pointer to the R
ange window, click, if necessary replace its present contents
by A3:B11 (use the Delete key located to the right of the enter key, type
A3:B11, and click again to deposit this), then click on the Next>button and
proceed to step 2.
The second ChartWizard box lets you specify the type of graph you want.
Click on the XY (S
catter) plot; your choice will be highlighted. (Do notselect
ine plot, because it will automatically assume that all X-values are
equidistant. This is convenient when you want to plot, e.g., income or
expense as a function of the month of the year, or the region of the country.
In scientiﬁc applications, however, it makes no sense to treat the X-values
merely as labels, and it can yield quite misleading graphs.) Click on Next>to
move to the next ChartWizard.
1.3 A simple spreadsheet and graph
Fig.1.3-2:The graph showing your sine wave.
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The third box lets you deﬁne the data presentation. Let’s just select 2,
which will show the individual data points in a linear graph, connected by
line segments. If you want to see what the other presentation styles look like,
try them out, either now or, better yet, after you have made your ﬁrst few
charts. Excel has many options, and often several ways to achieve each of
them. Here we describe only a few simple ways to get you started, without
confusing you with many possible alternatives. After you have become
familiar with the spreadsheet, by all means play to ﬁnd out how to move
around in Excel, what all is available, and what formats and shortcuts you
like; then use those.
The fourth box shows you a sample chart. The top right-hand corner will
let you specify whether you want to plot rows or columns; we will usually
plot columns, and that will most probably already have been selected. On to
the Next>step of the ChartWizard.
Step 5 allows you to add a legend, and to label the axes. If the question Add
a Legend? is answered aﬃrmatively, push the radio button to Ye
s. Point to
the rectangular window under the heading Chart Title, click on it, then type a
title of your choice, say, Sine wave, and deposit that title. Similarly, enter a
legend for the X-axis (in the text box next to Category [X]:), and a legend for
the Y-axis (in the box next to Value [Y]:). That is all for now: click on the Finish
button in the lower right-hand corner of the ChartWizard. You should see
the graph, properly scaled, with tick marks and associated numbers, and it
should look more or less like Fig. 1.3-2 (although there will almost certainly
be diﬀerences in the exact scaling, letter type used, and so on, details that
will not concern us here). If you had made the graph A
s a separate sheet,
click the mouse on the tablabeled Sheet1 at the bottom of the spreadsheet;
to go back again to the graph, click on the tab labeled Chart1, etc.
We will now add a few ﬁnishing touches. The numbers for the horizontal
scale inFig. 1.3-2 are placed just below the horizontal axis, at y=0. It is nice
that Excel selects and labels the scales for you, automatically, but you may
want to have the numbers outside rather than inside the graph area. In that
case, point with your mouse to a number with the horizontal axis, and click
on it. This will result in two black blocks, one on each end of the axis,
showing that you have activated the axis. Right-click to produce a small pop-
up menu, and click on Fo
rmat Axis, then select the tab Patterns, click on T
mark lables Low, and end with OK.
look much better when weusea‘Frenchcurve’toconnectthepointswitha
How to use Excel
follows: double-clickon the graph, click on a connecting line segment,
Thatdoesit.The eﬀect is shown inFig.1.3-3.
Finally, we change the font of the legends and labels. First get the
Formatting toolbar with V
oolbars⇒Formatting. Now click on the
axis numbers, then in the Formatting toolbar select Times New Roman and,
in the adjacent Font Size window, click on 12 (points). Do this for both axes.
Then click on the axis labels and the graph title and adjust them likewise. It
doesn’t matter whether you prefer the cleaner-looking sans-serif fonts like
Ariel, or the more readable serif fonts such as Times New Roman; the
purpose of the present exercise is merely to show you how to change it to
yourtaste. Incidentally, instead of using the Formatting bar you can click on,
say, the axis numbers, and then use Fo
lected Axis to get the
Format Axis dialog box, in which you can accomplish the same tasks as with
the Formatting toolbar.
Addressing a spreadsheet cell
It is useful to go back to the spreadsheet and see what you have done. Bring
the mouse pointer to cell B3, click on it, and observe the instruction shown
in the formula bar: it should read=SIN(A3*PI()/4). Now move the pointer to
cell B4 (again it should show a cross) and click on it. The formula bar will
show the instruction as=SIN(A4*PI()/4). Move to the cell below, and
examine its instruction: it will read=SIN(A5*PI()/4), and so on. Clearly, as
you copied the instruction from cell B3 down, the addressof the cell to
1.4 Addressing a spreadsheet cell
Fig.1.3-3:The same graph after smoothing.
which the instruction referred was also pulled down, from A3 to A4 to A5 etc.
This is called relative addressing, and is a main feature of all spreadsheets.
In other words, the instruction refers to a cell in a given position relativeto
that of the cell from which it is called. It is as if the instruction reads: take the
/4 times the contents of the cell to my immediate left. In copying a
formula in a spreadsheet from one cell to another, relative addressing is the
norm, i.e., the default, the operation you get without specifying anything
special. An example of relative addressing in a diﬀerent context is the move-
ment of a knight on a chess board. In fact, most chess moves are relative to
the starting position of the moving piece.
Sometimes we need to refer to a particular cell, for instance when such a
cell contains a constant. In that case we must specify that we want absolute
addressing; we do this by preceding both components of the cell address (its
column letter and its row number) by that symbol of stability, the dollar sign.
(We already encountered this notation in the previous section, where the
block A3:B11 showed in the ﬁrst ChartWizard dialog box as the range
=$A$3:$B$11.) We can also protect the column but not the row, by placing a
dollar sign in front of the column letter, or vice versa; we will occasionally
encounter such mixedaddressmodes in subsequent chapters. To return to
our earlier analogy: the movement of a chess pawn is relative, except at its
ﬁrst move, or when it reaches the opposite end of the board, at which points
its absolute address counts.
Now go back to column A, and examine its cell contents. Here we ﬁnd no
speciﬁc formula, but only numbers. The way we generated that column of
numbers, by dragging its top two cells by their common handle, was conven-
ient and quick, but did not give us much ﬂexibility to change it later. If we
anticipate that we might subsequently want to modify the contents of
column A, here are two alternative ways to do so.
First, deposit the number 1 in cell F1. Then go to cell A4, and there deposit
the instruction+A3+$F$1. (You can type it as shown or, faster, ﬁrst type
+A3+F1 followed by depressing the function key F4, which will insert the
two dollar signs for you. Please don’t get confused: F1 here means column F
row 1, while ‘function key F4’ signiﬁes the function key so labeled.)
Now copy this instruction down to cell A11; again, there are several ways
to do this. They all start with cell A4 as the active cell; if cell A4 is not the
active cell, make it so by clicking on it. Then try out the alternative methods
depress the letter r c; this s combination will from now on be denoted by
Ctrl+c. (Ifyouhavebeen broughtupwith theDOS tabooneverto use
How to use Excel
sheetstotherightoftheicon showing scissors.InExcel95and subsequent
Ctrl+c makes a copyof the active cell, and stores it in a place in the com-
puter memory called the clipboard. Drag the active cell down to generate a
column from A4 through A11 (make sure that the mouse pointer is the cross,
so that you make a column rather than just move a single cell around), then
paste the contents of the clipboard in this column with the command
Ctrl+v (or E
aste on the menu bar, the Paste icon on the icon bar, or
Alt+e, Alt+p from the keyboard).
(b) When you want to make a long column, from A4 all the way to, say,
A1394, it is more convenient to use the PageDown key rather than to drag the
active cell. In that case we again start with copying the active cell with
Ctrl+c. Now depress the Shift key while depressing the PageDown key until
you are roughly where you want to be, and ﬁne-tune with the up or down
keys to reach your destination, all the time keeping the Shift key down.
Release the shift key only when your column has the required length, then
press Ctrl+v to paste the instruction from the clipboard into the now acti-
vated column A4:A1394.
(c) Even faster (for such a long column) is the following method. Activate
cell A4, copy it onto the clipboard (Ctrl+c), then select the Goto function
key F5. This invokes the Go To dialog box; in its R
eference window type
A1397, click on OK, and you will now ﬁnd yourself in cell 1397. While keeping
down the shift key, now select End and the arrow up key, ↑, then paste with
The above methods illustrate the use of relative and absolute addressing.
Now let us look at the result. Go to cell F1 and deposit the value 2; immedi-
ately, column A will show the sequence 0, 2, 4, 6, etc. Play with it, and satisfy
yourself that the constant value stored in cell F1 indeed determines the
increment. The constant in F1 can be a fraction, a negative number, what-
ever. Then go to cell A3 and deposit a new starting value, say -3. Again the
data in column A adjust immediately, as do the values in column B that
depend on it. You now have much more ﬂexibility to modify the contents of
column A, without having to reprogram the spreadsheet.
More on graphs
Graphs are such an important part of spreadsheets because most of us can
take in the meaning of a ﬁgure much faster than that of formulas or of a
column of numbers.
First we lengthen the columns in the spreadsheet to contain more data.
Go back to the (left-hand) top of the spreadsheet; the fastest way to do so is
with Ctrl+Home (i.e., by depressing Control while hitting the Home key,
1.5 More on graphs
which you will usually ﬁnd in the key cluster above the arrow keys). Using
any of the methods described in section 1.4, you can now extend column
A3:A11 to A83, then go to cell B11 and double-click on its handle.
Alternatively you can extend columns A and B simultaneously: highlight the
two adjacent cells A11:B11, copy these with Ctrl+c as if they were one cell,
go down to cell A83, use Shift+End+Up to highlight A12:A83, and paste
with Ctrl+p. This will copy both columns.
The spreadsheet should now contain several complete cycles of the sine
wave. However, the graph does not yet reﬂect this, because you had earlier
speciﬁcally instructed it to plot A3:B11. Check that this is, indeed, the case.
We will now modify this.
With the mouse, point to the line in the graph, and press the Enter key.
You will see some points in the graph highlighted, while the formula
bar will contain the graph range, in a statement such as=SERIES
(,Sheet1!$A$3:$A$11,Sheet1!$B$3:$B$11,1). Quite a mouthful, but let that be
so. Simply move your mouse pointer to that statement, speciﬁcally go to the
11’s in it, and change them into 83’s. Then press Enter; the graph will now
show the entire set, B3:B83 versus A3:A83.
Instead of modifying Chart1 we can also make a new graph. Because our
earlier graph was embedded in the spreadsheet, now make a separate graph.
Embedding a graph has the advantage that you can see it while you are
working on the spreadsheet, and the disadvantage that it tends to clutter up
your workspace, and that (in order to keep them visible on the screen)
embedded graphs are usually quite small. On the other hand, graphs on the
spreadsheet can be moved around easily, because they as it were ﬂoat on the
spreadsheet. Likewise, their size can be changed readily. (In Excel 97 etc., the
two types of graph are treated as fully equivalent, and you can readily change
them from one type to another. Activate the chart, then select C
ocation and use the dialog box. Note that the C
hart menu appears only
after you have activated a chart, otherwise the same location hosts the D
The next two paragraphs are intended speciﬁcally for users of Excel 5 or
Excel 95.If you use a more recent version of Excel, which treats embedded
and separate charts the same way, you may want to speed-read (or skip) this
Highlight (activate) block A3:B83. (You can do this most conveniently as
follows: go to cell A3 and, while keeping the Shift key down, press End →,
then End ↓.) Click on I
art, then select O
n this sheet. The mouse
pointer will change into a cross with a small histogram attached, the histo-
gram being Excel’s idea of a graph. Bring the pointer to the left top corner of
cell D1, and click. Reenter the ChartWizard, which will show the highlighted
area as=$A$3:$B$83. Click on Next. In step 2, select the XY(S
then click on Next. In step 3, select 2, then Next. In step 4 use Data Series in
How to use Excel
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