A uniformly spaced plane like a grid chart makes studying and observing a selection of data much easier. With a clean chart and meticulous plotting on a grid chart, the user can easily see trends over time or among different sets. Grid charts work for a number of other purposes as well, such as a mailing list that features a neatly organized list of names and addresses. You can either make a paper grid chart yourself or use data entry or spreadsheet software to customize a digital grid chart.
Make a Grid Chart on Paper
Draw a large, thin "L" on the lines on a sheet of graph paper, using a ruler as a straightedge to keep your lines even. Use most of the page but leave a margin to note the sets for the X- and Y-axes of your chart.
Write the values for your X- and Y-axes in the margins of the paper. For example, if you were charting how much money you spent over the course of a year, beneath the horizontal line indicating your X-axis, you would write "Months" or "Time." To the left of your (vertical) Y-axis, you would write "Money Spent."
Draw marks at regular intervals on each axis to indicate the progression of each value. Label each of these with a value or other set. To continue the above example, you could make marks every five intervals on the graph paper for both axes. The vertical marks could represent dollars in $100 increments, while the horizontal axis could be marked by months of the year.
Make a Grid Chart in Microsoft Excel
Open Microsoft Excel and select "New Spreadsheet" when prompted. A default template spreadsheet will appear in the Excel window.
Click the "Format" menu in the upper toolbar. You can customize your grid chart by clicking "Cells." This option opens a menu which enables you to adjust the number of cells in each row and column.
Click "Column" or "Row" in the "Format" menu to edit the particular size of each row and column. The column width can vary between 0 and 255 units, while the row height can be set between 0 and 409 units.
Enter your data into each row and column. Excel will automatically maintain the straight lines of your grid chart. If you find that the boxes are too small for your data, return to Step 2 and readjust the row or column size.
Use the X-axis of a paper grid chart as your "Time" value. It is generally easier to understand data plotted over time in a horizontal fashion.
- Aaron Graubart/Digital Vision/Getty Images