How to Create a Bubble Chart

The insertion of a bubble chart requires you having your data laid out.

What is bubble chart?

The simpliest examplation on what a bubble chart is. A bubble chart is a kind of a scatter chart. The only difference is that the values are presented as bubbles instead of dots. And that’s it.

As an advantage over a scatter point please notice about additional dimension of bubble charts. Thanks to bubbles you are able to show additional dimension with the size of a bubble. That is not available for scatter charts. This is a main advantage of bubble charts.

The size of bubbles is the biggest disadvantage of a bubble chart as well. It is often that the size of a bubble might be confusing for the person who sees such type of a chart. Especially when seen for the first time.

THe second problem is that bubble may overlap which additionally worsens a visibility.

Because of that bubble chart should be used only when:

  • there are three sets of data
  • bubbles do not overlap

How to insert a bubble chart?

Your data would look something like this.

You need at least two columns of data for a bubble chart. The first column represents the X-axis, the second column represents the Y-axis. The third column could represent the size of the bubbles.

bubble chart data

Select the data you want to use for the bubble chart. Ensure that all the columns are included and that there are no blank cells in the data set.

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bubble chart mark data

On top, you should click on insert (1), and then click on the recommended chart (2).

bubble chart insert recommended chart

Start with clicking on All Charts (1), then choose scatter (2), choose bubbles (3), and finally click ok (4).

3d bubble chart

Note: The size of bubbles are determined by the data. The bigger the values, the bigger the bubbles.

You can format the bubble chart to make it look better by changing the colors, adding data labels, and adjusting the axis labels. To format the bubble chart, right-click the chart, select “Format Chart Area” from the context menu, and then choose the options you want to change.

ready bubble chart

To add data labels to the bubble chart, right-click the chart, select “Add Data Labels” from the context menu, and then choose the options you want to change.

To adjust the axis labels, right-click the chart, select “Format Axis” from the context menu, and then choose the options you want to change.

You can download free Bubble chart template here