How to Create a Bar Graph in Excel

How to Create a Bar Graph in Excel

Bar graphs are excellent for comparing items between different groups over time. In Excel, making a bar graph is straightforward.

In this guide, I will be going over all the steps required to make a bar graph in Excel. I will be using the Office 365 version of Excel (build 2203), but the instructions will be the same in other versions.

Creating a Bar Graph

Naturally, it’s important to organize your data first before you start to prepare your bar chart.

  1. As bar charts are best used to compare results between different groups over time, I am using an example of yearly sales figures for a particular product.

    Data Set In Excel
    Make a set of data in Excel that you want to display on your Bar Chart

  2. After your data is ready, you will need to select it by holding your left mouse button and highlighting the data you wish to select.

    A Highlighted Data Set in Excel
    Highlight the data that you want to select for your bar chart.

  3. Once you have selected the relevant data that you wish to include in your graph, select the Insert tab to reach the “Charts” section.

    Excel Main Page Showing Top Menu
    Select Insert from the Top Menu on Excel

  4. A toolbar will pop up with options to create different types of charts.

    Since we want to make a bar chart, we will select the Insert Column or Bar Chart button. The button will have a bar chart icon on it.

    Excel Main Page Showing Location of Bar Chart
    Select the “Insert Column or Bar Chart” option from the Insert Menu

  5. Excel provides you with multiple types of bar charts to represent your data set.

    This includes an option to select 2-D or 3-D charts. You can also represent the data in a horizontal or vertical graph.

    Excel Main Page Showing Insert Menu
    Select the Type of Bar Chart You Want to Use

    For this example, I will be selecting a simple 2-D column chart to represent our data.

    Image Showing Bar Chart in Excel
    Your Selected Bar Chart will show on the Excel Sheet

How to Customize your Bar Graph

After creating your chart, you may not find the design or layout suitable. Changing that is also very simple, and if you wish to change the way your chart looks, you can follow these steps.

Changing Chart Design

  1. Click on your Chart and select Chart Design from the top menu. You will see an option to change the chart design based on templates.
  2. You can customize the color palette to your liking by using the pre-made designs or customize your own by selecting the “Change Colors” option.
Excel Top Menu Showing Chart Design Tab
Select the Chart Design Tab From the Top Menu In Excel

Changing Chart Type

You can switch to a different bar chart style or a different style of chart altogether.

  1. Select your bar chart, then select Chart Design from the top menu. After, choose Change Chart Type.

    Image Showing Change Chart Type Menu in the Chart Design Tab
    Select the “Change Chart Type” Menu From the “Chart Design” Tab

  2. You will see different chart layouts to represent the data. You can select the chart that best describes your data, and it will automatically replace your chart.

    Chart Layouts in the "Change Chart Type" Menu
    The “Change Chart Type” Menu Will Show You Different Chart Layouts

Bar Chart In Excel
Select the Suitable Bar Chart from the Menu, and it will replace the previous chart

Phoebe is an HR assistant in her day job, but is also a web blogger that loves writing guides and sharing her experiences. When she is not out with her friends, she enjoys traveling or binge-watching Netflix. She graduated with a BA in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Utah, and is a chief editor at TechObservatory.

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