Economics @ ITT

Graphing Supply and Demand Curves in Excel

Posted in economics, microeconomics, tutorial by ittecon on March 19, 2009

I documented graphing a supply and demand schedule in Excel 2003 for my students. It can be adapted to other versions and applications. Click on an image to view it full size.

Having the data available to Excel, highlight the data, and then click the Chart Wizard icon on the toolbar.

Highlight Data Range

Highlight Data Range

A chart wizard will be presented, providing you with some options. Select XY (Scatter), and choose one of the linear models, as shown. (You may choose another chart type, but since I know these data are linear, this selection works fine.) Then click next.

Excel Chart Wizard - Scatter Chart

Excel Chart Wizard - Scatter Chart

Here comes the important part. By convention, supply and demand graphs present price on the Y-axis and quantity on the X-axes. Excel will present these in reverse, so you need to modify the data on the Series tab. You also need to rename  Quantity Supplied (Qs) from the schedule to Supply and Quantity Demanded (Qd) to Demand, as shown in the next three images.

Update Series Data

Update Series Data

When you first visit the series tab, the data looks like the image above. You need to reverse the X and Y axis data and add a name. The curves you are making are supply and demand curves—not quantity supplied and quantity demanded. Your goal is to ensure both of these series share the same Y axis data, which in this example resides in column B.

Reverse Supply Axis and Rename to Supply

Reverse Supply Axis and Rename to Supply

Reverse Demand Axis and Rename Demand

Reverse Demand Axis and Rename Demand

Click next to label the graph appropriately.

Label the Graph

Label the Graph

Make any other changes you like, as I have below—change the scale, labelling, colours, and such—, then click finish to see the results of your labour. That’s it. You’re done.

View the Graph in Excel

View the Graph in Excel

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16 Responses

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  1. James said, on January 14, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Thank you very much. this is the best explanation on the internet.

  2. Stephanie said, on February 27, 2010 at 5:20 am

    After hours our trying to figure it out and searching on the internet, it took minutes to complete the task once I found your site. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. Ozwald said, on March 25, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks a million! This was very much appreciated!

  4. inu yasha said, on April 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

    This is exactly what I was looking for! This helped me figure out what I was doing wrong. Other search results had incredibly complicated graphs for such simple tasks. Thank you!

  5. Steve said, on June 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you very much. I’ve wasted quite a bit of time tinkering around myself with this.

  6. Jim said, on October 12, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    This is so helpful I’m sharing it with the rest of my classmates. Too bad Excel doesn’t alleviate the trouble of having to swap X/Y data as it would save us a bunch of time over that meticulous editing of the data series.

  7. pavel said, on November 4, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I found it extremely helpful. I am a teaching assistant of microeconomics and I was desperatly needing this scatter graph. Thank you very much, indeed.

  8. Alex said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Brilliant! Thanks so much for typing something so straight-forward and easy to understand.

  9. Cheryl said, on May 6, 2011 at 10:47 am

    This information was quite helpful in assisting me to plot the graph. I had spent all night trying to figure it out and the website allowed me to complete the task in a matter of minutes.

    Thank you so very much

  10. Kevin said, on September 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Yes – This is very much appreciated.

    Thank you for posting this.

  11. mike said, on October 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    after 8 hours on the line graph i can ge the basics but it was backwards and could not do things like a price floor. was looking for an x and y point to graph
    after this too easy wish i looked this up a lot sooner!!! would have saved the hair i pulled out. any way thaks a bunch

  12. Victoria S. said, on March 3, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Sweet!!

  13. cherry chen said, on March 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Thank you! Very helpful!

  14. Divya Sunda said, on March 17, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    thanks soooo much! it was really easy to follow these instrucitons

  15. ferdnand said, on April 3, 2013 at 4:42 am

    thanks so very much. you’ve really helped me

  16. […] If you wish the specialisation to appear on the X-axis instead of the Y-axis, simply reverse the values for these on both data series. And there you have it. For details on how to swap X- and Y-axis data, refer to my post on Graphing Supply and Demand Curves in Excel. […]


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