It happens to everyone, it’s the reason Excel was created – the data changes and your Excel chart must change. And it’s not just the values of a specific data point in a data series that change, sometimes an entirely new data series must be added.There are three ways to add data to an existing chart and each has its own unique advantages.
In the following example the geographic regions, NA (North America) and EU (Europe) are in the original chart. But, a new series of data, APAC (Asia-Pacific), must be added.
Drag a Range to Add Data to an Excel Chart
There’s two ways to do this. The easiest is if the data series are located next to each other. If they are, then select the chart so the selection handles show around the chart data, like the small squares surrounding the numbers in the figure. Drag the lower-right handle to the right so the data selection includes the APAC title and the data. When you release the chart will redraw to include the APAC data.
Copy and Paste to Add Data to an Excel Chart
If the new data series isn’t located adjacent to the original data then you can use the copy and paste method of adding data. Select the APAC title and the data below it and choose Copy. Now, right-click on the edge of the chart and select Paste. You’ve just pasted a new data series into the chart.
Use the Select Data Source for Ultimate Control of Excel Chart Data
There’s one more method you can use. The Select Data Source gives you ultimate custom control over which labels and data are referenced. To display the Select Data Source dialog box, select the chart and in the Chart Tools tab, select Design. Now click Select Data in the Data group on the left. This displays the Select Data Source dialog box. In this box you can add, edit, or delete data series and series names.
To add the APAC data, click the Add button under Legend Entries (Series). Enter the APAC series name by clicking inside the Series Name edit box and then clicking the cell containing APAC. Next enter the series data by clicking in Series Value edit box and dragging across the APAC data cells. As you select new data you will see the chart redraw to include the data.
Which method should you use? Well, dragging the data border handles is obviously very easy when the new data is adjacent to the old and you want to use the title that’s at the top of the new data. Copy and Paste is also very easy to use when the title is the text at the top of the data, but with the Copy and Paste method the new data doesn’t have to be next to the old data.
For the greatest versatility, but requiring more clicks, use the Data Source dialog box. This allows you to select data anywhere, even on other worksheets or in other workbooks. You can also type text in the Series Name edit box if you want a legend title different from the title above the data.