Bubble Charts

Break out the Bubbly!

Its well past the new year so a little bubbly is long overdue. Bubble charts are great in that they allow you to graph in 3 dimensions: Length, Height and Breadth (or area). Although the steps below are written with Excel in mind, they can also be applied to PowerPoint.

Watch this 3½ minute video to learn the basics regarding interpreting and creating bubble charts.

Creating a Bubble Chart

  1. Input your data, placing the X-axis data in the first column, Y-axis data in the second column, and the area (bubble size) in the third column.
  2. Select the data.
  3. On the Insert tab, in the Chart group, Click XY and select from Bubble types. A Bubble chart is added to the worksheet

Note: If necessary click Switch Row/Column (on the Chart Tools:Design tab) to swap the series data.

Adding Data Labels

  1. CLICK on one of the bubbles in the series. The entire series becomes selected.
  2. RIGHT+CLICK  one of the selected bubbles and select Add Data Labels. Data labels will appear.
  3. To format label appearance and content, RIGHT+CLICK on a bubble and select Format Data Labels.

Formatting the Bubble Appearance (Fill)

  1. CLICK on one of the bubbles in the series. The entire series becomes selected..
  2. CLICK (again) on the bubble. The single bubble will be selected.
  3. RIGHT+CLICK on the selected bubble and select Format Data Point. The Format Data Point dialog/pane appears.
  4. Select Fill and set the fill options (e.g., color, pattern, fill, etc).
  5. Close.
  6. Repeat as necessary for remaining bubbles.


Additional reading:

Comments and questions are always welcome!

Author: quincy harley jr

Quincy is a technophile, coach and Learning Development expert. He has an extensive legal IT background and is practiced in MS Office application support and product development. As a project leader he has been integral in numerous new application rollouts. Whatever spare time he has, is spent with reading, archery and watching his young sons grow.

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