Scatter charts

You can use scatter charts to show the relationships among the numeric values in several data series, or display two groups of numbers as one series of xy coordinates. Data in columns or rows on a sheet can be transformed into a scatter chart.

Scatter charts are typically used for displaying and comparing numeric values, such as statistical data. A scatter chart has two value axes, showing one set of numeric data along the horizontal axis (x-axis) and another along the vertical axis (y-axis). These values are combined into single data points and displayed at irregular intervals.

You can use a scatter chart in the following cases:
  • There are many data points on the horizontal axis.
  • You want to change the scale of the horizontal axis.
  • The values for the horizontal axis are not evenly spaced.
  • You want to show similarities between large sets of data instead of differences between data points.
  • You want to effectively display worksheet data that includes pairs or grouped sets of values and adjust the independent scales of a scatter chart to reveal more information about the grouped values.
  • You want to compare many data points without regard to time — the more data that you include in a scatter chart, the better the comparisons that you can make.
Scatter charts have the following chart subtypes:
  • Scatter with only markers scatter with only markers

    If you have many data points and do not have to show the connectivity of data points, use a scatter chart with only markers. Connecting lines would make the data more difficult to read.

  • Scatter with smooth lines and scatter with smooth lines and markers scatter with smooth lines scatter with smooth lines and markers

    These types of charts display smooth curves which connect the data points. If there are many data points, use a smooth line without markers.

  • Scatter with straight lines and scatter with straight lines and markers scatter with straight lines scatter with straight lines and markers

    These types of charts display straight connecting lines between data points.