How to Make a Bar Graph in Excel

Use a Bar Chart to Compare Categories of Data

Bar Graphs and Column Charts are often used to describe the same type of chart with vertical bars. However, in Microsoft Excel, a bar graph has horizontal bars whereas a Column Chart has vertical bars. No matter, what you call them, Bar graphs and Column charts are used to compare different categories of data.

Bar Graph

bar graph made in Excel 2010

Column Chart

column chart made in Excel 2013

Bar Graphs 101

To create a bar graph in Excel, select your data, then click on the Insert tab and then Bar. There are various choices of bar shapes (2-D, 3-D, Cylinder, etc) and formats (clustered, stacked or 100% stacked.)

how to create a bar chart in Excel


bar graph


stacked bar chart made in Excel 2016

100 % Stacked

100 % stacked bar graph

Alternatives and "Advanced" Bar Graphs

If you are tracking data over time, then use a line graph instead of a bar graph. Consider using a histogram to show the distribution of measured data or a Pareto Chart to show the importance of the bars,


histogram for analyzing distribution of data

Pareto Chart

use a pareto chart to show the relative importance of the bars

It's time consuming and difficult to create Histograms and Pareto charts in Excel. However, its a snap if you have QI Macros add-in for Excel. Learn more and download a 30 day trial to see for yourself.

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primitive charts
Primitive Charts
smart charts
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