(Note: This guide on how to graph a function in Excel is suitable for all Excel versions including Office 365)

Time and time, Excel has proven to be a beneficial tool for performing various calculations. Excel offers calculations and simplifications on a vast amount of mathematical functions ranging from simple addition functions to complex quadratic, exponential, and trigonometric functions.

In addition to calculating the values, Excel also has the ability to provide a relationship between the input and output values. This representation in the form of graphs provides an easy way to compare and interpret the data.

In this article, I will show you how to use a function in Excel and how to graph a function in Excel using 2 easy ways.

Generally, functions are a set of calculations having a finite set of operations together with a variable to arrive at the output. In other words, they provide a relationship between the input and the output.

You all might have heard about the trigonometric functions like the Pythagoras theorem (c2=a2+b2) or quadratic equations like ax2+bx+c=0.

You all might have heard about the formula to calculate the radius of a circle. We use the formula πr2, where r is the radius of the circle and is a variable. For the different radii of the circle, the area will also be different.

In this case, the radius(r) is considered the input, and the area is the output. When it comes to plotting the points on a graph, the inputs are taken along the x-axis and the outputs are plotted along the y-axis.

Graphing functions in Excel allows you to visualize relationships, patterns, and trends in mathematical data

Whether for personal projects school assignments financial analysis, or scientific research, Excel’s graphing capabilities provide a way to gain insights from function data.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn several methods for graphing different types of functions in Excel using formulas, tables, and charts.

## Why Graph Functions in Excel?

Graphing a function in Excel is useful for:

- Visualizing patterns in mathematical data
- Identifying relationships between input and output variables
- Highlighting trends like growth, decay, cycles, discontinuities
- Comparing multiple functions on the same axes
- Demonstrating concepts in reports, research papers, and presentations
- Analyzing predicting model behavior
- Debugging problems with your formula logic

With the versatility to create different chart types like line, scatter, column, and others, Excel provides the flexibility to graph functions in many meaningful ways.

## How to Graph a Function in Excel

Follow these steps to graph a mathematical function in Excel:

### Enter the Function Inputs and Outputs

- In two columns, enter inputs for the independent variable
- In the next column, use a formula to calculate the function’s outputs

For example, calculate Y = X^2.

### Create an Excel Chart from the Data

- Select the input and output data
- Insert a chart like a line chart or scatter chart
- Excel will plot the (X, Y) coordinate pairs

The chart smooths and connects the discrete data points.

### Customize and Format the Chart

- Add a title and axis labels
- Adjust scale, style, colors, etc to improve readability
- Position and size the chart object appropriately

Proper formatting produces an informative, professional graphic.

And that’s it! By entering function inputs and outputs into Excel and then creating a chart, you can quickly generate a graph of the function.

Next, we’ll explore a few more advanced ways to plot functions in Excel.

## Graph a Function from a Formula

Rather than manually calculating function outputs, you can use a formula for dynamic results:

- In one column, enter your independent inputs
- In another column, use a formula that references those cells
- Excel will compute the formula and populate the output column
- Create your chart from the input and computed output

Now, adjusting the inputs automatically updates the chart. No need to recompute outputs manually.

For example, to graph Y = X^2, use this formula:

`=B2^2`

Where B2 contains an input like 2.

This formulas squares the input value from that cell.

## Graph Multiple Functions Together

To compare functions on the same chart:

- Compute each function in its own column
- Ensure all functions use the same inputs
- Select all columns when creating the chart

Excel will plot each function as its own line or data series.

This allows contrasting their behavior visually in one view.

## Use Tables for Dynamic Charts

For more flexibility, use Excel tables for graphing:

- Set up input variables in the first column
- Use formulas in subsequent columns to define functions
- Convert to an Excel Table using CTRL + T
- Insert a chart linked to the table

Now adding or editing table rows updates the connected chart automatically. No need to recreate charts when altering data.

## Change Function Parameters

To graph a function with different parameters:

- Define parameters as Named Ranges in Excel
- Reference parameters in your function formulas
- When adjusting the Named Ranges, formulas update dynamically
- The linked chart changes accordingly without rebuilding

This allows quickly modifying function parameters to visualize their effect.

## Plot Discontinuous Functions

Discontinuous graphs with breaks or jumps require a workaround:

- Use IF statements in your formula to return #N/A errors for discontinuities
- Chart the function as usual
- #N/As create breaks and gaps on the plotted line

This technique quickly conveys discontinuities on your chart.

## Graph Functions from Data

In some cases, you may have function outputs without the associated formula.

To graph:

- Add the function input data
- Plot the input and output columns directly on a chart
- Excel will connect the discrete points

Without the formula logic, Excel can still interpolate a graph visually.

## Choosing the Right Chart Type

Excel offers many chart types, each useful for certain functions:

- Line charts plot continuous, smooth functions
- Scatter charts visualize correlations between X and Y
- Column charts display discrete, non-continuous data
- Area charts emphasize volume under the curve
- Stock charts highlight maximum, minimum, end values

Pick the most meaningful style for your function.

## Format Charts for Clarity

Proper formatting is key for readable, understandable charts.

Some key tips:

- Add a descriptive chart title
- Label the horizontal and vertical axes
- Display units and scales on axes
- Use appropriate data markers to distinguish series
- Set large enough font sizes for text elements
- Adjust the chart and plot area sizes as needed
- Limit unnecessary chart clutter

Good formatting transforms raw charts into clear, effective visuals.

## Add Trendlines to Charts

Trendlines reveal insights about functional relationships:

- Linear trends show constant rate of change
- Polynomial trends reveal curvature and inflection points
- Moving average trends smooth out short-term fluctuations
- Exponential trends highlight growth or decay rates

Right-click a data series and add a trendline with the desired regression.

## Create Interactive Charts

To create interactive charts:

- Use Excel tables for your data
- Convert the chart to an Excel dynamic chart
- Add scroll bars, spin buttons, or slicers linked to inputs
- The chart updates when manipulating the controls

This allows adjusting inputs dynamically to visualize function response.

## Troubleshoot Errors

When a chart doesn’t match the expected function plot, check for:

- Incorrect cell references in formulas
- Hidden or filtered data
- Irregular spacing between input values
- Errors in function logic
- Invalid parameters
- Axis scaling issues

Carefully examine the source data and formulas for any discrepancies.

## Graph Functions with VBA

For full control, VBA macros can programmatically create function graphs:

- Generate input data arrays
- Loop through calculating outputs
- Write X and Y arrays to worksheet
- Add and format chart object
- Automate for multiple functions

This provides endless options for custom function graphing.

## Graphing Equations in Excel

The same methods work for graphing both functions and equations in Excel.

For equations like Y = 2X + 5:

- Isolate Y on one side
- Plug in values for X as the inputs
- Compute Y outputs using the equation
- Graph the X and Y data

This techniques plots a visual representation of any mathematical equation.

## Graphing Inequalities

Graphing inequalities like Y > X + 2 requires visualizing a range of possible Y values:

- Compute Y values based on a range of X inputs
- Plot the X and Y data as scatter points
- Shade the area representing Y values within the inequality

This conveys the range of valid Y outcomes for each X.

## Graphing Differential Equations

To graph a differential equation like Y’ = X in Excel:

- Discretize the equation into finite differences
- Iterate through steps calculating Y values
- Chart the X and Y data
- Decrease step size for a smoother plot

This numerical approach approximates solutions for continuous differential equations.

Excel provides professionals, students, and hobbyists alike with powerful yet accessible tools for graphing and visualizing functions.

Leverage Excel’s formulas, tables, and charts to plot mathematical datasets, uncover trends, and demonstrate function relationships.

By following the techniques outlined here for calculating function outputs, configuring graph parameters, selecting appropriate chart types, and formatting for clarity, Excel can produce publication-quality graphs to enhance your work.

So next time you need to graph and visualize function data, let Excel do the heavy lifting!

## How to Use Functions in Excel?

In Excel, you can use the functions to establish a relationship between the input and output easily. There are two ways to use functions in Excel.

### By using Functions from Excel Library

If you are going to be operating on any mainstream function, Excel has a huge library of built-in functions you can choose from. You can just select the functions, enter the values and Excel gives you the output.

- Select a cell and enter any value. Let the input value be Angle and output value be Sine Value since we’ll be operating on a sine function. In this case, I have entered the value 0 in cell A4. You can also enter multiple values as inputs.

- Now, to add a function, click on any destination cell.
- Navigate to
**Formulas**in the menu bar. Under**Function Library**, you will find a variety of categories consisting of different functions like Financial, Logical, Math&Trig, etc. Depending on your operation, choose the function from the Function Library.

If you are having a hard time trying to find the location of the function, click on **Insert Function **from the Function Library or from any of the dropdowns from the categories.

- This opens up a new
**Insert Function**dialog box. You can choose the category and select the function you want. In case, if you are still unable to find the appropriate function, you can type the description and Excel shows you a list of related functions.

- Now that you have found the function, click
**Okay**. - This opens up another dialog box asking you to enter the arguments for the function. You can
**enter any constant value**or if you want to select or add the name of the cell in the text box and click**OK**. In this case, I will pass the argument as A4 since this cell houses the value for the input.

- This gives the Sine value for the given input. Now, you can use the drag handle to perform the function on other cells too.

## How to Graph a Function in Excel 2016

**How to graph functions in Excel?**

To graph functions in Excel, first, open the program on your computer or device. Find the green icon with the “x” over the spreadsheet either in your control panel or by searching your applications for “Excel.” You can then open an existing spreadsheet file or create a new one by pressing the “New” option. 2. Create your headers

**How is Excel different from a graphing calculator?**

One area where Excel is different from a graphing calculator is in producing the graph of a function that has been defined by a formula. It is not difficult, but it is not as straight forward as with a calculator. It is a skill worth developing however.

**How do I edit a graph in Excel?**

If any Grid/Graphs are in edit mode, the Data menu displays Report Editor options, rather than Document Editor options. If red hashed lines appear around a Grid/Graph, you are in edit mode. Press ESC to exit edit mode. Open the document in the Document Editor. ( How?)