Skills Earth Sciences

Creating graphs (Excel)

You can use excel to plot data in simple graphs. Often, students use Excel when they have to make a graph as it is a familiar interface and it is therefore easy to use. When you are already handling/structuring/saving your data in Excel, you can easily and quickly plot your data to explore it, and spot if you have made any big mistakes.

Using Excel to make scientific graph has some disadvantages however: the graph options in Excel are limited to the default functions, and there is no option to add packages for specific, more advanced graph types. If you want to make more advanced graphs, it might be better to use a different program. Additionally, layout options are limited. The standard layout is well-known and might look unprofessional. Therefore, we recommend that you not use the default style. Instead, develop your own style with an appropriate colour scheme.

A license for MS Office 365 is available for free through UU with a Solis-id.


  • The Excel module offers video tutorials for making graphs in Excel, specifically scatter plots and histograms in Excel.
  • For a step-by-step guide for creating graphs in Excel, see this website.