Chapter 1 

Using a Spreadsheet to Plot Curved Shapes  - Part B

This continuation explains the steps required to plot from the data table that was calculated in Part A.

That table is reproduced next for your review.

Now, use the mouse to select cells A5:D20 as is seen next.

Choose the Insert menu and from it select Chart: this will bring out step1 of the Chart Wizard seen next.

On the Wizard, select Line and Chart sub-type as shown and then Next>.  This brings up Step 2 of the Wizard as seen below.

On this form, to apply the labels that are shown above as Series1, to the x-axis, use your mouse to select the expression shown at Values: and copy it to Category (X) axis labels:, then click Remove to delete Series1 as a series to be plotted and then choose Next>.  Step 3 of the Wizard will then appear.

The thumbnail in step 3 above now shows labels on the x-axis. 

For our example we are going to create our own Legend, Titles, and Axes notation; therefore just deselect Show legend and choose Next> to proceed to Step4.

Here we select As object in: and then select Finish.  The chart then appears on our sheet where it can be positioned and sized as desired.

Excel has made default choices for the background color of the plot area, the size of the plot area, the colors for the three plots, the axes scales and their notation.

The width of the plot area should be reduced to make room for our own version of a legend.  This is done by clicking on the central small black rectangle at its right and dragging it some to the left.

As a white plot area would increase the contrast, left click on that area to see a small menu. From it choose Format Plot Area to bring in a form that allows you to choose the plot background colour. 

The result of the forgoing two modifications is shown next.

To begin our custom legend, click inside the chart area and then click on the sheet's Edit line to type there "Stopping Distance"  and then press the Enter key.  The text shows up on your chart as an object, a TextBox, that can be moved, sized, text edited and font edited.

Next, choose custom colors for the three plots, red for the stopping distance, blue for the speed component and black for the reaction time component.  This done by clicking a plot to select it and then clicking the sheet's Format menu and there selecting Selected DataSeries.  A form will then appear that allows selection of line colour and line weight.

It remains to set the notation for the axes.  As this was explained in Part 1 of this topic, no further explanation is needed here.  See the final chart with its table next.

For this plot the reaction time was changed from its nominal 1.5 seconds, in cell A2, to 2.5 seconds.  Without further user intervention, the table and plot automatically change to that seen in the forgoing.


The Theorem of Pythagoras is used to introduce Sines and Cosines and some identities of trigonometry.

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