Making scientific graphs with
Microsoft Excel
Making scientific graphs on
graph paper

Graphs are a useful tool in science. The visual characteristics of a graph make trends in data easy to see. One of the most valuable uses for graphs is to "predict" data that is not measured on the graph.

• Extrapolate: extending the graph, along the same slope, above or below measured data.
• Interpolate: predicting data between two measured points on the graph.

How To Construct a Line Graph On Paper
Step What To Do How To Do It
1 Identify the variables
1. Independent Variable -
(controlled by the experimentor)
• Goes on the X axis (horizontal)
• Should be on the left side of a data table.
2. Dependent Variable -
(changes with the independent variable)
• Goes on the Y axis (vertical)
• Should be on the right side of a data table.
2 Determine the variable range.
1. Subtract the lowest data value from the highest data value.
2. Do each variable separately.
3 Determine the scale of the graph.
1. Determine a scale,
(the numerical value for each square),
that best fits the range of each variable.
2. Spread the graph to use MOST of the available space.
4 Number and label each axis.
• This tells what data the lines on your graph represent.
5 Plot the data points.
1. Plot each data value on the graph with a dot.
2. You can put the data number by the dot, if it does not clutter your graph.
6 Draw the graph.
1. Draw a curve or a line that best fits the data points.
2. Most graphs of experimental data are not drawn as "connect-the-dots".
7 Title the graph.