Quickly add a series to an existing Excel chart

Here's a quick and easy trick for updating an existing Excel chart.

Excel makes it easy to create a quick chart. You select the data and click the Chart Wizard button and a few clicks later, you have a great looking chart. It seldom stops there though. It isn't uncommon at all to update the underlying data and subsequently need to update the chart. For instance, if a chart displays sales for only the first three quarters of the year, eventually, you'll want to add the fourth quarter. You could recreate the chart but usually, you've done enough customizing that you won't want to start over from scratch. Fortunately, adding a series to an existing chart is a simple copy task:

  1. Select the new data that you want to add to the chart. Don't select the entire worksheet — select only the new data. As you can see below, the existing chart's data consist of the first three quarters. To add the fourth quarter to the column chart, select just the fourth quarter data.


  2. Press [Ctrl]+C to copy the new data to the Clipboard.
  3. Select the chart.
  4. Press [Ctrl]+V to copy the new data from the Clipboard to the new chart. A simple copy and paste task updates the existing chart by adding the fourth quarter series.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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