Excel 2011 for Mac: Adding Trendlines, Error Bars to Charts

When you make Excel charts in Office 2011 for Mac, you find a brand-new set of Chart tabs on the Ribbon that guide you with the latest Microsoft charting technology. Excel 2011 for Mac offers real power in its chart-analysis tools, but using them requires some knowledge of the math behind the features.

Adding a trendline to charts in Excel 2011 for Mac

Excel can add a line called a trendline that calculates and projects the trends into the past or future indicated by your data.

Used improperly, a trendline can present a false picture of what's going on with your data, so make sure you and your audience are clear about the calculation choices you made to produce your trendline.

It's best to start with a line or bar chart. Not all chart types support trendlines. Using a single data series makes your chart much easier to understand. To add a trendline, choose the Trendline option from the Chart Layout tab of the Ribbon. This brings up the Trendline gallery with options to choose from.

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Adding drop lines and high-low lines to charts in Excel 2011 for Mac

Two special kinds of lines can be added to your line chart: drop-lines and high-low lines.

On the Ribbon’s Chart Layout tab, go to the Analysis group and choose Lines→Drop Lines to add lines from your data points to the X-axis.

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Hi-low lines connect the highest value and lowest value of each data point with a line. In the Chart Layout tab’s Analysis group, choose Lines→High-Low Lines to add these.

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Adding up-down bars to charts in Excel 2011 for Mac

Up-down bars automatically highlight the differences between the topmost and second topmost values of your chart. On the Ribbon’s Chart Layout tab, go to the Analysis group and click Up/Down Bars to turn these on or off. Double-click one of the bars to display the Format Up Bars dialog, where you can customize these bars.

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Adding Error Bars to charts in Excel 2011 for Mac

In the Chart Layout tab’s Analysis group, click Error Bars to display a pop-up menu where you can choose from standard error, percentage, or standard deviation to add error bars.

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Double-click an error bar to display the Format Error Bars dialog. You can format your error bars in this dialog. You can specify custom error values by clicking the Specify Value button and choosing cells.

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