Microsoft KB Archive/42215

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Difference between Scatter Charts and Line Charts

The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Excel for Windows, versions 2.x, 3.0, 4.0, 4.0a, 5.0

The following article explains the difference between line and scatter charts.

It is a common misconception that if you want to plot a line on a chart that you use a line chart, when in many cases, a scatter chart is the appropriate chart to use.

The main difference between a line chart and a scatter chart is that a line chart's x-axis is not scaled, i.e., it has a fixed interval between each category. For example, if you are trying to plot a line and have 1,2,10 as x values, the distance between 1 and 2 on a line chart is the same as the distance between 2 and 10. If you use a scatter chart with the same x values, the distance between 1 and 2 is one unit while the distance between 2 and 10 is eight units.

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Last Reviewed: March 12, 1999
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