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These “First Excel Lessons” teach students how to enter and format data to create simple bar charts


Computers & Internet, Math  


2, 3, 4, 5  

Title – First Excel Lessons with Graphing
By – Steve Lee Ignacio
Primary Subject – Computers / Internet
Secondary Subject – Math
Grade Level – 2-5

Introduction: These lessons teach students how to enter and format data to create simple Excel charts and bar graphs.

    • The first lesson teaches how to enter data and create a simple chart.
    • The second lesson builds on the first lesson by requiring formatted labeling.
    • The lessons serve as a quick guide, not as a detailed comprehensive Excel tutorial.
    • The instructions are for Microsoft Excel 2007 version, but the data and chart can be recreated using any of the various Excel versions or even non-Microsoft variants.
    • I have used this successfully with 2nd and 3rd graders, but your mileage may vary.

Lesson 1:

Make your first Excel chart.

    1. Type your title “Caleb’s Party Food Chart” in Cell B1, then -Enter-.
    2. Add the party food data in Column A.
    3. Add the quantities in Column B.
    4. Select (highlight) the food labels and number values in columns A and B.
    5. On the Insert menu tab select bar chart, choose 2 D bar.
    6. Double click the chart and then choose “chart layouts” on the ribbon. Choose a chart layout.
    7. Click the office button and choose Print > Print preview.
    8. Adjust the chart position if necessary and then -Print-.


Lesson 2 Introduction: This lesson builds on lessons learned in the first Excel chart lesson by adding the following requirements:

    • Merge and Center the title. “Nicole’s Fruit Chart”
    • Apply formatting to the title such as font size, color, and style.
    • Enhance the chart by using “Chart Layouts” menu and labeling the title and horizontal and vertical axis.

Lesson 2:

Label an Excel chart.

    1. Enter your chart title in C1, then -Enter-.
    2. Click in cell C1 and drag mouse to H1. In the Home tab, alignment group, find and apply “Merge and Center” to the title.
    3. With the title still selected, on the Home tab, Font group, apply a new font color, font size and font style.
    4. Enter the fruit labels in column A starting with cell A3. Enter the fruit quantities in column B starting in cell B3.
    5. Click in cell A3 and drag mouse down to select all the foods down to cell A6. Continue to drag to select all the numerical values on column B.
    6. Create a bar chart. Go to Insert tab > Charts group > Bar > 2D bar.
    7. Format the chart. Click to select the chart. Go to Design tab > Chart layouts group > choose a chart layout that will produce a chart title and horizontal and vertical axis labels.
    8. Fill in the appropriate text for the Chart Title and the axis. “Nicole’s Fruit Chart, Fruits and Quantity”.
    9. In the Design tab > Chart Styles group, choose a style for the bars.
    10. Go to Print > Print preview, make adjustments to chart position as necessary. -Print-.

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