3 Ways to Change the Data in an Excel Scatter Chart

At some point, you may need to change data that’s already plotted in an XY scatter chart. In our worksheet, we have the data from the previous section already plotted, but there’s an additional column of data in column D. In this section, we’ll look at three ways to change the chart to use the new column as Y data instead of the old data.

For the first method, right-click anywhere in the chart area and choose Select Data. The Select Data Source window will appear:

Note that the Chart data range contains the B and C column ranges, and that the chart contains one series, shown in the box at lower left. Click the Edit button just above that series to edit the input data.

You may enter a Series name by clicking inside the first box, then selecting the header for column D, but this is optional.

The X values should remain the same. To edit the Y values, select the entry in the third box, and delete it. Select the new data (click in cell D3 and drag down to the end of the column). Click OK. Note that the series has been updated with the new name from cell D2. Click OK again, and you’ll see that the chart now shows a sine wave.

Another way to edit the data shown in the chart is to left-click on the data displayed in the chart. The data columns for the curve will become highlighted. Hover the mouse over the border of the Y Data until the mouse pointer changes to a pointer with four arrows:

Click and drag over to the Z-Data column. This will move the selection, and the chart will update.

The last method to edit the series is through the formula bar. Left-click on the curve in the chart. If you look at the formula bar, you’ll see it’s referencing column B for the X data and column C for the Y data:

Simply change the “C”s to “D”s and the chart will update accordingly.

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By Charlie Young, P.E.

Take your engineering to the next level with advanced Excel skills.