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How to create dot plot in Excel?

Have you ever tried to create a dot plot which is a chart plotting its data points as dots (markers) in Excel as shown as below screenshot? If you are interested in this dot plot, please read this tutorial for the details on creating dot plot in Excel.

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Create dot plot in Excel

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arrow blue right bubble Create dot plot in Excel


To create a dot plot, you need a formula to calculate each data’s relative height data.

Height data provides the vertical coordinates for Y axis.

1. Select the first cell and type Height into the column next to your data, here, I select C1. See screenshot:

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2. Then in C2, type this formula =(ROWS($A$2:$A$12)-ROW()+ROW($A$2:$A$12)-0.5)/ROWS($A$2:$A$12), press Enter key and drag autofill handle to the range you need to apply this formula. See screenshot:

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3. Select the first and second columns (Label Column and Value Column) data, and click Insert > Bar > Clustered Bar. See screenshot:

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4. Select the Legend in the chart, and press Delete key to delete it. See screenshots:

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In Excel 2013, the legend is not added into the chart by default. If the legend exists, please delete it.

5. Then select the second and third column (Value Column and Height Column) data, and right click to select Copy from the context menu. See screenshot:

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6. Then click at the chart, and click Home > Paste > Paste Special. See screenshot:

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7. Then in the popped out Paste Special dialog, check New series option in Add cell as section, check Columns in Values (Y)in section, and both check Series Names in First Row and Categories (X labels) in First Column checked boxes. See screenshot:

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8. Then click OK, you can see the bar chart become as follow:

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9. Right click at first series (the blue one), and select Format Data Series from the context menu. See screenshot:

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10. In the Series Options section, check Secondary Axis. See screenshot:

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In Excel 2013, check Secondary Axis under Series Option section in the Format Data Series pane.

11. Close the dialog and then go on to select the blue series, and click Layout > Axes > Secondary Vertical Axis > Show Default Axis. See screenshot:

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In Excel 2013, click DESIGN > Add chart Element > Axes > Secondary Vertical.

Then you can see the bar shown as below:

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12. Click on the red series, and go to Design tab, and select Change Chart Type. See screenshot:

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13. In the Change Chart Type dialog, click X Y (Scatter) section, and click Scatter with only markers. See screenshot:

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In Excel 2013, you need to click All Charts tab in the Change Chart Type dialog, and then click at the arrow of the Height series name, and select Scatter from the list. See screenshot:

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15. Click OK. Now you need to change the markers to circles. Right click at the red markers, and select Format Data Series. See screenshot:

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16. In Format Data Series dialog, click Marker Options tab, and check Built-in option, then select circle from the list of Type. See screenshot:

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In Excel 2013, you do not need to change the marker to circle.

17. Close the dialog. Then right click at the primary Y axis (the left one), and select Format Axis from the context menu. See screenshot:

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18. Then in the Format Axis dialog, go to the Axis Options section, check the Fixed option behind the Minimum, and entering 0 in the following text box; check the Fixed option behind the Maximum, and enter 1 in the following text box. Then check Axis value and type 0 into its text box in the Horizontal axis crosses section. Then close the dialog.

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In Excel 2013, you just need to directly type 0 and 1 in the Minimum and Maximum text boxes, and check Axis value with 0 typed in the Format Axis pane.

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Now the chart shown as below:

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19. Then right click at the primary X axis (the bottom one) and select Format Axis.

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20. In the Format Axis dialog or Format Axis pane, check Maximum axis value in the Vertical axis crosses section, then close the dialog.

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21. Right click at secondary X axis (the top one) and select Format Axis.

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22. Then in the Format Axis dialog or Format Axis pane, check Automatic option in the Vertical axis crosses section. Then close the dialog.

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23. Right click at the primary Y axis (the right one) and select Format Axis, then in the Format Axis dialog, select None from the list of Axis labels. Then close the dialog.

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In Excel 2013, you need to click LABELS to expand its section, and select None form the Label position list.

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24. As well, right click at the secondary X axis (the top one) and select Format Axis, then in the Format Axis dialog, select None from the list of Axis labels. Then close the dialog. Then you can see the chart show as below screenshot:

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25. Right click at Y axis and select Format Axis, then in the popping Format Axis dialog or Format Axis pane, check Categories in reverse order and Automatic options. See screenshot:

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26. Right click at the bar and select Format Data Series. Then in the dialog, click Fill tab and check No fill option.

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In Excel 2013, click Fill & Line > Fill > No fill in the Format Data Series pane. See screenshot:

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27. Close the dialog, now a simple dot plot is created.

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You can format it as you like.

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    ExcelGuest · 2 years ago
    Great tutorial. I had the same issue with the missing dots. You just need to update the cell ranges in given furmula, for example, if you have 22 rows of data instead of 12 (like the example), just update the formula to replace "A12" with "A22". That did it for me anyway.
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    Rita Lechuga · 4 years ago
    This is a great tutorial. My question is-why do some of my dots end up missing? I start with 16 bar graphs but end with only 14 dots, not sure how to fix it.