Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Make a Bar Graph In Excel

A bar graph is a two- or three-dimensional representation of data from the simplest to the most complex. This guide is written for Microsoft Excel 2003, but the process is similar for other versions of Excel.

Here's how you can create a bar graph using Excel [source: Excel Bar Graphs]:

  1. Open Excel. Locate and open the spreadsheet from which you want to make a bar chart.
  2. Select all the data that you want included in the bar chart. Include the column and row headers, which will become the labels in the bar chart. If you want different labels, type them in the appropriate header cells [source: Make an Excel Bar Graph].
  3. Click the Chart Wizard toolbar button, or choose Chart from the Insert menu.
  4. Make sure that Column is selected under Chart type (it's the default setting).
  5. Select a subtype of bar graph from the display on the right, and click Next.
  6. Make sure that the data range is correct and that Column is selected in the Data Range tab. Click Next.
  7. Enter the titles of the chart for the X axis and Y axis. These titles will appear in the appropriate places on the bar graph.
  8. Click the other tabs and make any changes you want. Click Next.
  9. Decide where to place the bar chart. It can be placed on a separate sheet or it can be embedded in the spreadsheet.
  10. Click Finish. You've just made a bar graph in Excel.
  11. Use the Chart toolbar to make any final adjustments on the bar graph. If the toolbar isn't visible, select View. Select the Toolbars menu. Select the Chart toolbar.

More to Explore