How Do You Draw a Box and Whisker Plot in Excel?


What is a Box and Whisker Plot? What is it used for?

Box and Whisker Plots (Box Plots or Boxplots) are like simple histograms turned on their side. Use them to analyze the variation between data sets. Box Plots allow you to easily compare medians between data sets (where the color changes in each box) and the variation within each dataset (i.e. how tall is the box and how long are the whiskers).

anatomy of a box and whisker plot

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Lennox Industries


What does each part of a box and whisker represent?

key elements of a boxplot

The box represents the distance between the 1st and 3rd quartiles--the InterQuartile Range (IQR=Q3-Q1).

For quartiles, there are three points: the first middle point (the median), and the middle points of the two halves. These three points divide the entire data set into quarters.

The whiskers are 1.5*IQR or the highest / lowest point within the range.

Outlier points are those that are greater than 1.5*IQR, from Q1 or Q3.

Source: Juran's Quality Handbook, Joseph M. Juran, Joseph A. DeFeo.

What to look for:

  • If the box is all gray, then there is no difference between the 1st quartile and the median.
  • If the box is all green, there is no difference between the 3rd quartile and the median.
  • If your median value is less than 0, the boxes will indicate this by swapping order (green on top and gray on bottom).

Why use QI Macros to create Box and Whisker Plots?

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You don't need to learn a bunch of formulas or a separate software application. QI Macros works right in Excel.

box whisker plot diagram

Easy to Use

QI Macros is point and click simple. Just select your data and then select QI Macros from the tab we install on Excel's menu. Then select Box and Whisker Plot.

box whisker excel menu

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- Chuck Whitaker
Nishikawa Standard Co.


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