Can You Make a 3D Plot in Excel? Learn to Create XYZ Plots, 3D Models, and 3D Maps – projectcubicle

Can You Make a 3D Plot in Excel Learn to Create XYZ Plots, 3D Models, and 3D Maps - projectcubicle

Can You Make a 3D Plot in Excel? Learn to Create XYZ Plots, 3D Models, and 3D Maps

Can You Make a 3D Plot in Excel? How to Make a 3D Graph on Excel? In the ever-evolving landscape of data analysis, Excel stands as a formidable cornerstone. Beyond its familiar realm of 2D graphs and charts, Excel harbors a hidden treasure trove of potential – the art of data visualization in three dimensions. Imagine taking your data and molding it into vivid, tangible representations that transcend the flat constraints of traditional graphs. This is the world of 3D plotting in Excel, and in this comprehensive guide, we will plunge headfirst into this captivating realm.

Excel, often underestimated as a mere spreadsheet tool, unveils its true potential as a data visualization powerhouse when we venture into the third dimension. The journey we embark upon is one of discovery and mastery, equipping you with the skills and knowledge to create visualizations that are nothing short of stunning. Whether you wield the title of data analyst, scientist, or simply wear the badge of an Excel enthusiast, this voyage into the world of 3D plotting will not only unlock new perspectives but also reveal profound insights lurking within your data.

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1. Getting Started with 3D Plots

What is a 3D Plot?

A 3D plot, also known as a three-dimensional plot, takes your data visualization game to the next level. It represents data points in three dimensions, making it ideal for visualizing complex relationships within datasets. Unlike 2D charts that show data on a flat plane, 3D plots introduce depth, allowing you to explore correlations, trends, and patterns that may remain hidden in traditional graphs.

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Creating a Simple 3D Plot

Now, let’s get practical. Creating a basic 3D plot in Excel is easier than you might think. Follow these steps:

  1. Data Preparation: Organize your data with three variables (X, Y, and Z) that you want to plot in three dimensions. For example, X could represent time, Y could represent distance, and Z could represent temperature.
  2. Selecting Data: Highlight the data range you want to plot.
  3. Insert 3D Plot: Go to the ‘Insert’ tab, and choose ‘3D Plot’ from the chart options.
  4. Customization: Customize your 3D plot by adding labels, adjusting axes, and changing the viewing angle to best represent your data.

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2. Mastering XYZ Plots

Understanding XYZ Plots

XYZ plots are a specific type of 3D plot that involve three variables: X, Y, and Z. These plots are particularly useful when you need precise data representation in three dimensions. Here’s when you should consider using XYZ plots:

  • When Exploring Multivariate Relationships: If your data involves multiple variables and you want to understand how they interact, XYZ plots allow you to visualize these complex relationships.
  • For Scientific and Engineering Applications: In scientific research or engineering projects, you often deal with data that has three or more dimensions. XYZ plots are invaluable for visualizing and analyzing such data.
3D Plot in Excel
3D Plot in Excel

Steps to Create an XYZ Plot

Let’s walk through the process of creating an XYZ plot in Excel:

  1. Data Preparation: As with 3D plots, start by organizing your data with X, Y, and Z variables.
  2. Selecting Data: Highlight the data range containing your XYZ data points.
  3. Insert XYZ Plot: Go to the ‘Insert’ tab, select ‘3D Plot,’ and then choose ‘XYZ Plot.’
  4. Customization: Customize your XYZ plot by labeling the axes, adjusting scales, and selecting the appropriate chart type (e.g., scatter plot, surface plot, or contour plot) based on your data.

For example, in geology, you might have data on latitude, longitude, and elevation. Creating an XYZ plot can help you visualize the elevation changes across different geographic coordinates, revealing insights about terrain and landforms.

3. Designing 3D Models

Excel isn’t just for plotting data points; it also offers tools to design 3D models that can represent objects or visualize data in a more engaging manner.

Creating 3D Models in Excel

Excel’s 3D modeling capabilities open up a world of possibilities. You can create custom 3D models to represent objects, visualize scientific phenomena, or enhance the aesthetics of your presentations. Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Activate 3D Models: In Excel, go to the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘3D Models.’ You can choose from predefined shapes or create your own.
  2. Customization: Once you’ve added a 3D model, you can customize its appearance, size, and orientation. Excel offers tools to adjust colors, textures, and lighting to make your 3D models visually appealing.
  3. Data Integration: What’s fascinating about Excel’s 3D models is their ability to interact with your data. You can link 3D models to specific data points, making it easier to explain complex concepts or showcase product designs.

For instance, if you’re presenting a new product design, you can create a 3D model of the product and use Excel to animate its assembly process, providing a clear and engaging demonstration.

Importing External 3D Models

Excel also allows you to import external 3D models, which can be incredibly useful for various applications. Whether you’re working on architectural projects, scientific simulations, or educational materials, incorporating external 3D models can enhance your Excel spreadsheets.

To import an external 3D model, follow these steps:

  1. Insert a 3D Model: Go to the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘3D Models.’ Choose ‘From a File’ to import an external model.
  2. Select the Model File: Browse and select the 3D model file you want to import. Excel supports common 3D file formats like .obj and .fbx.
  3. Adjust Settings: After importing the model, you can adjust its size, position, and orientation within your Excel sheet.

For educational purposes, you might import a 3D model of a cell’s structure into an Excel workbook and label its organelles, making it an interactive learning tool for biology students.

BONUS: How to Make a 3D Graph on Excel

How to Make a 3D Graph on Excel? Creating a 3D graph (also known as a 3D chart) in Excel allows you to visualize data in three dimensions. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a 3D graph in Excel:

  1. Open Microsoft Excel and enter your data:

    • Organize your data in a table, with the X, Y, and Z values in separate columns.
    • Make sure your data has headers so that Excel can recognize the data correctly.
  2. Select your data:

    • Click on the cell containing the first data point.
    • Drag your cursor to select the entire data range, including the headers.
  3. Go to the “Insert” tab:

    • Click on the “Insert” tab in the Excel ribbon at the top of the window.
  4. Choose a 3D chart type:

    • In the “Charts” group, click on the “3D Scatter” or “3D Line” option, depending on the type of 3D graph you want to create.
  5. Customize the 3D graph:

    • Excel will insert a default 3D chart into your worksheet.
    • You can customize the chart further by right-clicking on various chart elements (axis labels, titles, data points, etc.) and selecting “Format” or “Format Data Series” to adjust colors, labels, and other settings.
    • You can also add a chart title by selecting the chart and then clicking on the “Chart Elements” button (the plus icon) on the upper-right corner of the chart and checking “Chart Title.”
  6. Adjust the axis labels and titles:

    • By default, Excel will use the column headers for axis labels. You can change these labels by clicking on them and editing the text directly.
    • You can also format the axis titles and labels by right-clicking on them and choosing “Format Axis” or “Format Axis Title.”
  7. Navigate the 3D graph:

    • To rotate the 3D chart for a different view, click and drag on the chart itself.
    • To zoom in or out, use the scroll wheel on your mouse.
    • You can also use the “3D Rotation” and “3D View” options in the Chart Tools tab to customize the view further.
  8. Save and share your 3D graph:

    • Once you’ve created and customized your 3D graph, you can save your Excel file or share it with others as needed.

4. Building 3D Maps

Excel’s versatility extends to building 3D maps, allowing you to visualize geographic data in a three-dimensional space. This feature is particularly valuable for geographers, urban planners, and anyone dealing with spatial data.

Introduction to 3D Maps

Before diving into creating 3D maps, let’s understand where and why they are beneficial:

  • Geographical Insights: 3D maps offer a more immersive and realistic way to visualize geographic data. They can reveal elevation changes, topography, and spatial relationships that traditional maps cannot.
  • Urban Planning: Urban planners can use 3D maps to assess the impact of infrastructure projects, such as skyscrapers or transportation networks, on the city’s landscape.
  • Environmental Studies: For environmental studies, 3D maps help visualize terrain variations, which are critical for assessing flood risks, erosion, and habitat suitability.
How to Create a 3D Plot in Excel?
How to Create a 3D Plot in Excel?

Building Your First 3D Map

Creating a 3D map in Excel requires a few steps, but the results are worth it. Here’s how to build your first 3D map:

  1. Data Setup: Ensure your data contains geographical coordinates (latitude, longitude) and a variable of interest that you want to visualize in 3D, such as population density or temperature.
  2. Insert 3D Map: Go to the ‘Insert’ tab, select ‘3D Maps,’ and choose ‘Open 3D Maps.’ This will open a new window for map creation.
  3. Adding Data Layers: Import your data into the 3D Maps window. Specify the latitude and longitude fields, and assign the variable of interest to the ‘Height’ option. You can also add additional data layers for more context.
  4. Customization: Customize your 3D map by adjusting the appearance, including color schemes, legends, and labels. You can also manipulate the viewing angle to explore different perspectives.

For instance, if you’re studying climate data, you can create a 3D map that displays temperature variations across a region, allowing you to visualize temperature changes in relation to geography.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enable 3D plotting in Excel?

How to Make a 3D Graph on Excel?  To enable 3D plotting in Excel, you need to have Microsoft 365 or Excel 2019 installed. Once you have the software, you can create 3D plots by selecting your data, going to the ‘Insert’ tab, and choosing ‘3D Plot.’

Can I create custom 3D models in Excel?

Yes, Excel allows you to create custom 3D models using the 3D Model command. You can customize the appearance and properties of these models to suit your needs. For example, you can design custom 3D models for architectural visualization or product design.

What data is suitable for 3D mapping in Excel?

3D mapping in Excel is ideal for geographic data that includes latitude, longitude, and a variable of interest, such as population or temperature. You can create 3D maps to represent topography, urban development, or environmental factors.

Are there any Excel add-ins for advanced 3D plotting?

Yes, several Excel add-ins are available that can enhance your 3D plotting capabilities. Some popular options include ‘Excel 3D Plot Add-In’ and ‘XYZ Mesh.’ These add-ins offer advanced features for creating and customizing 3D plots.

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  1. OriginPro: OriginPro is a data analysis and graphing software that can be integrated with Excel. It offers extensive 3D plotting capabilities, including surface plots, contour plots, and XYZ data visualization.
  2. XLSTAT: XLSTAT is a statistical software add-in for Excel that includes 3D visualization tools for statistical analysis. It can create 3D scatter plots and other advanced 3D graphics.
  3. SigmaPlot: SigmaPlot is another statistical software package that can be used as an Excel add-in. It provides advanced 3D graphing options, such as 3D scatter plots and surface plots.
  4. Tecplot 360: Tecplot 360 is specialized software for creating and analyzing complex 3D visualizations and simulations. While it’s a standalone tool, it can work with data exported from Excel for further analysis and visualization.
  5. MATLAB Excel Add-In: If you have access to MATLAB, you can use its Excel add-in to perform advanced 3D plotting and data analysis. MATLAB is a powerful tool for scientific computing and visualization.
  6. Python with Libraries: You can use Python, along with libraries like Matplotlib, Plotly, or Mayavi, to create custom 3D plots and integrate them with Excel using Python add-ins like xlwings.


How can I export my 3D plots from Excel?

You can export your 3D plots from Excel as image files or 3D models. How to Make a 3D Graph on Excel?  Simply right-click on the plot, select ‘Save as Picture’ or ‘Save 3D Model,’ and choose your desired format. This allows you to share your 3D visualizations with others or use them in presentations and reports.

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Can Excel handle large datasets for 3D plotting?

Excel has limitations when it comes to handling large datasets for excel three dimensional chart plotting. It’s recommended to preprocess and reduce the data size if necessary to ensure smooth plotting. Techniques like data filtering and aggregation can help manage large datasets more effectively.


How to Make a 3D Graph on Excel?  In this extensive guide, we’ve explored the realm of excel three dimensional chart plotting in Excel, spanning from the basics of 3D plots and XYZ plots to designing captivating excel three dimensional chart models and building informative excel three dimensional chart maps. Armed with this knowledge, you now have the tools to take your data visualization to the next dimension.

Whether you’re visualizing scientific data, creating 3D objects for design or education, or mapping geographic information, Excel’s excel three dimensional chart capabilities empower you to excel in the world of 3D visualization.

Unlock the power of Excel’s 3D tools and watch your data come to life. Start creating excel three dimensional chart plots, mastering XYZ plots, designing captivating 3D models, and building informative 3D maps today!

Thank you dear reader!
Thank you dear reader!

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