Charting a mathematical equation using Excel and defined names

Pages in this article

  1. Introduction
  2. Create the Chart
  3. x-values
  4. y-values
  5. Sample Equations


When doing mathematics, wouldn't it be nice if we could type an equation into a cell in Excel and immediately see the resulting graph?

Suppose we have an equation like:


Normally, we would create a column with x values and in the adjacent column "translate" this formula into a cell formula:


and copy this formula down to match the number of x values in column A:

A cell formula we can copy downwards

Subsequently, we would base a chart on this set of data:

Creating an Excel chart

This method lacks flexibility. It would be much more convenient, if we could:

  • Enter the (any!) formula into a single cell
  • Enter the lower and upper limit of the x-range into two other cells
  • Enter the number of values to use for the chart in yet another cell:

 A way to enter the parameters of our function into cells

Yet another constraint we're going to place on this task:

Apart from the cells shown in the figure above, no cells are to be used, just defined names with formulas.