How to Plot a Formula in Excel

By Chad Davis, Contributor at ExcelAssignment company.

To create a spreadsheet table that can be plotted in the form of a graph, first calculate your X or Y values. In Microsoft Excel, you can generate results for these variables by applying a formula to a known data series. Once you’ve completed your table, you can use your X and Y data to automatically create a scatter chart with straight lines and markers. Use the Chart tools to label each axis on your chart, and then label the data callouts for each point on the X and Y axes.


  1. Create a new blank workbook in Excel.
  2. Enter your formula into cell A1 for reference. For example, enter “y=5x-2” (without quotes here and throughout).
  3. Enter labels for your X and Y column data into cells A2 and B2. For example, label the cells “X” and “Y”.
  4. Enter your X-values into the first column, starting in cell A3. For example, enter the following values into cells A3 through A7: “-2, -1, 1, 2, 4”.
  5. Select cell “B3,” and then calculate its Y-value using your formula. For example, enter “=5*A2-2”, and then press “Enter” to compute the value for Y.
  6. Select cell “B3” again, and then drag the fill marker, resembling a small box in the bottom right corner of the cell, to the bottom of your data series. For example, drag the fill marker from B3 to B7. Your Y-values are computed based on your formula and corresponding X-values in the table.
  7. Select your formula in cell A1. Click on the “Insert” tab to switch to the Insert ribbon. Click the “Insert Scatter (X,Y) or Bubble Chart” drop-down button, resembling a scatter chart icon, and then click “Scatter with Straight Lines and Markers” to plot your formula in a chart.
  8. Click the “Add Chart Element” drop-down button in the Chart layouts group of the Design ribbon, select “Axis Titles,” and then click “Primary Horizontal” to add a horizontal axis title to your chart. Repeat the process, but this time select “Primary Vertical” to add your vertical axis title. Replace the titles with the labels you used for your X and Y data. For example, enter “X” for the horizontal axis title, and then enter “Y” for the vertical axis title.
  9. Click the “Add Chart Element” drop-down button again, select “Data Labels,” and then click “Data Callouts” to label your data markers.

Tips & Warnings

Information in this article applies to Microsoft Excel 2017. It may vary for other versions or products.

Science Fair Projects to Avoid

Science fair judges have seen all of these projects many times, some of them are not valid, some are just flaky. Some break the rules. Know what to avoid.

There are thousands of science fair projects every year, and judges have seen the same projects over and over again. There is plenty of scope for new ideas. Consider the new technologies, new issues, and new generations growing up in a different world because of communication and opportunity. And there are the unchanging facets of life, plants are still our only source of oxygen, the Coriolis Effect still takes airborne particle towards the poles, the ocean currents still govern heat balance in the oceans.

Students still want to devise a completely original and stunning science fair project. The following list was inspired by MarvelEssay – Do My Project for Me, Please!. After 56 science fairs you can assume they have a little experience. So, avoid these topics, mostly because the judges are not very enthusiastic and you would be wasting your time.

Forget about these

  • effect of colored light on plants
  • effect of music on plants
  • effect of talking on plants
  • effect of cigarette smoke on plants
  • effect of cola, coffee, etc. on teeth
  • effect of running, etc. on blood pressure
  • effect of music on blood pressure
  • effect of video games on blood pressure
  • effect of almost anything on blood pressure
  • effect of color on memory, emotion, mood, etc.
  • effect of color on taste.
  • effect of color on strength.
  • graphology
  • astrology
  • pyramid power
  • ESP
  • optical illusions
  • reaction times
  • basic maze running
  • basic planaria regrowth
  • basic solar collectors
  • basic flight tests
  • basic popcorn volume tests
  • basic flower preservation techniques
  • taste comparisons, e.g., Coke vs Pepsi
  • taste or paw-preferences of cats, dogs, etc.
  • male/female comparisons, especially if bias shows
  • color choices of goldfish, etc
  • any project which boils down to simple preference.
  • mold growth
  • crystal growth
  • many detergents vs. stains
  • acid rain projects
  • sleep learning
  • stills of any kind
  • balanced diets
  • ball bounce tests with poor measurement techniques
  • battery life tests
  • strength/absorbency of paper towels tests
  • most consumer product testing of the “Which is best?” type
  • wing, fin shape comparison with mass not considered

Some of these are difficult to measure, some are just too qualitative, others are beyond the scope of a science fair or do not produce reliable data. Some are just not scientifically valid.

Obey the rules

The following are to be avoided because they are against the rules of science fairs and will not be accepted.

  • any topic that requires dangerous, hard to find, expensive, or illegal materials
  • any topic that requires drugging, pain, or injury to a live vertebrate animal
  • any topic that creates unacceptable risk (physical or psychological) to a human subject
  • any topic that involves collection of tissue samples from living humans or vertebrate animals

Do your own thing

So, make sure your project conforms to the rules, and make it a little bit different. Consider some of the newer technologies and what measurable effect they might have. Remember that everything has some kind of scientific basis, maybe in the materials used for manufacture, maybe in the physical effect something has on a human body. Maybe in the amount of energy a household uses after making changes, either replacing an appliance or changing behavior. Start looking for things to record. Look around you and take notes.

Look at the news, consider the events going on in the world. Recent science fair successes include a method of attaching prosthetic limbs after amputations. Do you see a need for a new way of doing something? Do you have the spark of an idea? Write it down and start your research.

Basic Excel Training

Having basic computer skills, including use of spreadsheet applications, is becoming increasingly important for employment opportunities. Microsoft Excel, a popular spreadsheet application that is part of the Microsoft Office Suite, represents 94 percent of the office productivity market share, as reported by the New York Times.

Basic Excel Skills

To be comfortable using Excel, you must know how to enter, organize, move and graph data in cells. You should also be familiar with creating and applying formulas to analyze data. Practice with sample data that comes with your Excel program.

Support team:

Self-led Excel Training


You can gain basic Excel skills with self-directed courses online, with your Excel program, or from published guides to Excel. Working through the exercises rather than just reading the course can improve your skills.

Instructor-led Training

Having a knowledgeable instructor guide you through basic Excel training can be helpful. Instructors can answer questions, assist you when you get stuck, and provide specialized training on the basic Excel skills most applicable to your needs. Look for these programs at your local library or community college.

University Toolkit

University Toolkit is a software package developed by the MPAA for University system administrators to track and log what types of, and how much, traffic goes through their network, and over the internet provided by the University. The toolkit was available for free at until a developer for Ubuntu (the operating system which the toolkit is based on) contacted the MPAA and requested that it be taken down,[1] citing GPL violations, stating that under the GPL, any software must have its source code released under the GPL as well. The MPAA has not released the source code to University Toolkit, despite it being supposedly based entirely on open-source software, specifically snort and ntop.


Advancing a Unique American Industry

When people think of U.S. film and television production, they tend to think of “Hollywood,” New York and other leading American filmmaking communities. But increasingly today, film and television production is a nationwide growth engine that is bringing new jobs and economic opportunities to communities across the country. From Pontiac, Michigan, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Chicago, Illinois, to New Orleans, Louisiana, film and television production is lifting communities in all 50 states in our union today.

Some facts you might not know about our industry:

  • We are a national community of 2.5 million creative professionals–costume designers to make-up artists, stuntmen to set builders, writers to actors–who work in all 50 states of our union.
  • We are a powerful engine of economic growth that contributes nearly $80 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
  • We are an industry overwhelmingly comprised of middle-class workers earning a living wage.
  • We are a professional community that contributes $13 billion annually to federal and state tax coffers.
  • We are the only American industry to run a positive balance of trade in every country in which we do business.
    • The Domestic box office continued to grow in 2008, reaching $9.79 billion after a 1.7% gain. (refer to page 3 of the 2008 MPAA Theatrical Statistics report)
    • Worldwide box office reached another all-time high in 2008 at $28.1 billion, an increase of 5.2% over 2007. (refer to page 2 of the 2008 MPAA Theatrical Statistics report)
  • Domestic admissions dropped 2.6% in 2008, to 1.36 billion. (refer to page 3 of the 2008 MPAA Theatrical Statistics report)
    • The total number of films released domestically in 2008 was up 1.8%, to 610 films. (refer to page 5 of the 2008 MPAA Theatrical Statistics report)
    • In 2008, the average movie ticket price in the U.S. rose to $7.18, a 4.4% increase over 2007. (refer to page 4 of the 2008 MPAA Theatrical Statistics report)
  • The number of screens in the U.S. remain constant at just over 40,000 in 2008.

Protecting Creativity, Expanding Consumer Choice

Respect for copyrights is central to the ability of creative artists to make great movies and help our economy grow. The MPAA is committed to protecting the rights of those who create the content we love. We also understand that this means embracing new technologies and innovative approaches that enable consumers to enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows in exciting and flexible ways.

From the creative arts to the software industry, more and more people around the globe make their living based on the power of their ideas. This means there is a growing global stake in protecting intellectual property rights and recognizing that these safeguards are a cornerstone of a healthy global information economy.

More than 2.5 million American jobs rely upon a healthy film and television industry in the United States. We are committed to safeguarding these opportunities while delivering innovative choices to consumers. To be successful, we know we have to constructively engage with diverse stakeholders. This includes:

  • Partnering with the technology community to expand the diversity of legitimate choices available to consumers, so they can enjoy the genuine article — authentic copies of movies & TV shows — at a fair price and in flexible and hassle-free ways.
  • Working to include strong intellectual property rights provisions in every U.S. trade agreement and working to ensure that all parties uphold the commitments we have made to one another to protect the power of ideas around the world.
  • Partnering with law enforcement and other entities to safeguard intellectual property rights as a cornerstone of our global information economy.
  • Collaborating with educators to promote respect for copyrights at an early age, teaching the importance of responsible digital citizenship.
  • Working constructively with consumers to enlist their support and respect for intellectual property rights.