How to Plot an Equation in Excel


Often you may be interested in plotting an equation or a function in Excel. Fortunately this is easy to do with built-in Excel formulas.

This tutorial provides several examples of how to plot equations/functions in Excel.

Example 1: Plot a Linear Equation

Suppose you’d like to plot the following equation:

y = 2x + 5

The following image shows how to create the y-values for this linear equation in Excel, using the range of 1 to 10 for the x-values:

Plot an equation or function in Excel

Next, highlight the values in the range A2:B11. Then click on the Insert tab. Within the Charts group, click on the plot option called Scatter.

The following plot will automatically appear:

We can see that the plot follows a straight line since the equation that we used was linear in nature.

Example 2: Plot a Quadratic Equation

Suppose you’d like to plot the following equation:

y = 3x2

The following image shows how to create the y-values for this equation in Excel, using the range of 1 to 10 for the x-values:

Next, highlight the values in the range A2:B11. Then click on the Insert tab. Within the Charts group, click on the plot option called Scatter.

The following plot will automatically appear:

We can see that the plot follows a curved line since the equation that we used was quadratic.

Example 3: Plot a Reciprocal Equation

Suppose you’d like to plot the following equation:

y = 1/x

The following image shows how to create the y-values for this equation in Excel, using the range of 1 to 10 for the x-values:

Next, highlight the values in the range A2:B11. Then click on the Insert tab. Within the Charts group, click on the plot option called Scatter.

The following plot will automatically appear:

We can see that the plot follows a curved line downwards since this represents the equation y = 1/x.

Example 4: Plot a Sine Equation

Suppose you’d like to plot the following equation:

y = sin(x)

The following image shows how to create the y-values for this equation in Excel, using the range of 1 to 10 for the x-values:

Next, highlight the values in the range A2:B11. Then click on the Insert tab. Within the Charts group, click on the plot option called Scatter with Smooth Lines and Markers.

The following plot will automatically appear:

Plot a sine function in Excel

Conclusion

You can use a similar technique to plot any function or equation in Excel. Simply choose a range of x-values to use in one column, then use an equation in a separate column to define the y-values based on the x-values.

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