The Tiny Guide to Better Charts in Excel


I often receive emails from readers asking about what software I use to create the visuals for my blog posts. Most people are shocked to hear that the majority of the static charts, graphs, and grids are created using Microsoft Excel. Because I have received so much positive feedback about the visuals, I decided to create a short guide for making charts in Excel.

Today I’m excited to share The Tiny Guide to Better Charts in Excel, a free PDF I created that provides tutorials on how to create the three most common visuals I use in my blog posts: line charts, area charts, and grids.

Specifically, the PDF gives step-by-step instructions for creating these three charts:

Line Chart


Area Chart




Whether you’re a blogger, someone who uses Excel in their day job, or an average Joe looking to improve their visualization skills, this tiny guide will provide you with a solid foundation for creating better charts in Excel.

Technical Note: I built the tutorials for these charts using Microsoft Excel 2013, so I can’t guarantee that the instructions will be compatible with other versions of Excel.

You can download the PDF along with the data for the tutorials by clicking on the links below 🙂

PDF: The Tiny Guide to Better Charts in Excel

Excel Templates: line_chartarea_chartgrid


Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.

Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.

His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.

His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.

His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.

His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.


Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.

4 Replies to “The Tiny Guide to Better Charts in Excel”

  1. Thank you for sharing your tricks with us. Having never really used spreadsheets for school or work, I’ve had to teach myself to use the software.

    I can usually do what I need with the math, but struggle to make pretty charts.


  2. Thanks for your excellent “Tiny Guide”. Any suggestions on how to make the charts interactive on a blog/website?

    1. No problem Don! To make the interactive charts I use JavaScript, which is a bit more complex. I may create a Tiny Guide to JavaScript Charts some day though. Stay tuned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *