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How to Create a Bar Chart in Excel

A chart is a nice visual aid when presenting data. One of the more common charts is the bar chart.

Excel Instruction

Bar Chart

Collect the data you want to make the bar chart out of, and make a frequency table.
Highlight the appropriate cell range containing the table, and choose the chart type Bar chart.
Add chart elements and make changes so your chart appears informative and clear. Remember to include a title for your chart!

Example 1

Bar Chart

Let the frequency table below be an overview of the grades within a class. You will now make a bar chart of the data.

Spreadsheet in Excel presenting the frequency table of grades

Enter the numbers in a spreadsheet.
Mark the whole table, including the titles. Choose Insert from the top menu bar in Excel. The program often recognizes what chart type is fitting for your data, enabling you to choose from Recommended Charts.

Spreadsheet in Excel presenting the bar chart, pie chart and frequency table for grades

Spreadsheet in Excel presenting alternative bar charts for grades

When you have chosen the diagram type, the Chart Editor will appear. Here you can knock yourself out and style your chart with different colors and effects. Before you do that, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have included chart and axis titles. This is because a chart is supposed to be a good visualization of your data, so you don’t want people looking at your chart to wonder what it’s trying to display, or what kind of information the axes represent.

Spreadsheet in Excel presenting possibilities for bar chart editing

Below is a chart that shows the grade distribution in the class.

Bar chart for the frequency table for grades

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How to Create a Pie Chart in Excel