How to Make a Bar Graph In Excel

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

bar chart
It's easy to make bar charts in Excel. Aslan Alphan/Getty Images

A bar graph is a two- or three-dimensional representation of data from the simplest to the most complex. This guide shows you how to make a bar graph in Excel for Office 365 (Excel 2016 and 2019), as well as older Excel versions.

Here's how you can create a bar graph using Excel 2016 [sources: TechontheNet, Microsoft]:

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  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.
  3. Be sure to 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 .
  4. Click on the Insert tab and then on Insert Column or BarChartbutton in the Charts group. You'll see many options when you select this button, such as 2-D columns and 3-D columns, as well as 2-D and 3-D bars. For these purposes, we're selecting 2-D columns.
  5. The chart will appear. You'll also see horizontal bars giving the names of your headers at the bottom of your graph.
  6. Next, give your chart a name. Click on the Chart Title section at the top of the graph and the section becomes editable.
  7. Decide where to place the bar chart. It can be placed on a separate sheet or it can be embedded in the spreadsheet. Then save it.
  8. If you want to delete the chart and start all over again, place your cursor on the edge of the chart (you'll get a pop-up that says "chart area") and press your Delete key.

For earlier versions of Excel, such as 2007 and 2003, follow the instructions below [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 .
  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 DataRange 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.

Originally Published: Apr 12, 2011

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Making A Graph in Excel FAQ

How do I create a graph in Excel?
Step 1: Enter the data in Excel. Step 2: Choose one of the graph and chart options. Step 3: Highlight the data and insert the desired graph. Step 4: Switch the data on each axis where required. Step 5: Adjust the layout and colors. Step 6: Change the size of the chart's legend and axis labels. Step 7: Change the Y axis measurement options. Step 8: Reorder your data and title the graph.
How do you create a chart in Excel?
Step 1: Select data for the chart. Step 2: Select Insert > Recommended Charts. Step 3: Select a chart from the “Recommended Charts” tab. Step 4: Select a chart. Step 5: Select “OK."
How do you make an XY graph in Excel?
Step 1: Select the data and click on the chart wizard button. Step 2: Choose an x-y scatter graph. Step 3: Choose “Finish.” Step 4: Click on a point on the chart to highlight the data points. Step 5: Choose Chart > Add Trendline. Step 5: Choose a linear regression and then click on the Options tab. Step 6: Select “Display equation on chart” and “Display R-squared value on chart.”
How do I make a bar graph?
Step 1: Click on the “Insert” tab. Step 2: Go to Charts> Bar Graph. Select a cell in your range and press Ctrl+A to select the data. Step 3: Click Insert > Insert Column or Bar Chart.
How do I get Excel to show all data in a graph?
Step 1: Select the chart. Step 2: Click the Design tab. Step 3: Click “Select Data” in the Data group. Step 4: Click on “Hidden and Empty Cells.” Step 5: Select the “Show Data in Hidden Rows and Columns’" option. Step 6: Click “OK" twice.