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A bar graph is a two- or three-dimensional representation of data and is one of the most effective ways of displaying said information in an easy-to-read format. They can also help to highlight trends and patterns that might otherwise be overlooked.
You might think that making a bar graph on Excel is a difficult process, but it really isn’t. Thanks to a few handy tools you’ll be able to visualize your data in just a few simple clicks. You’ll also be able to create more sophisticated graphs by using different colors and symbols to represent certain values.
Here we’ll take a look at the straightforward process of how to make a basic bar graph in Excel, which should only take you a couple of minutes to complete.
How To Do It
Before you can generate any type of bar graph in Microsoft Excel, you will need to add data to a spreadsheet. Once you’re done, we can get to creating a bar graph. It’s a pretty easy process. All you need to do is follow these steps:
Open Microsoft Excel
Find the spreadsheet containing the data you want to use to make a bar graph from.
Highlight the cells that contain relevant data that you would like to display in your bar graph. Ensure that you include row and column Headers, Labels and Values as these will become the bar graph labels. However, if you want to change these labels, you can alter them by double-clicking.
Click Insert, and then click the Insert Column or Bar Chart button in the charts group. You might see quite a lot of available menu options after selecting this button but don’t worry! To create a simple bar graph, you just need to select the 2-D columns.
- This will immediately create a bar graph to add to your spreadsheet. It’s important to note that the 2-D and 3-D bar charts are essentially the same, and only differ in their visual presentation.
- In the bar graph, select Chart Title. Then select a new (and relevant) title for your chosen graph.
- If you want to alter the size of the chart, click in the area and resize using the handles in each corner.
Add New Columns to Existing Bar Graph
You aren’t limited to the data you originally used to create your bar graph in Excel. You can make alterations, such as adding extra data columns, after the bar graph has been added to the spreadsheet.
All you have to do is select the bar graph, and then all the cells that are contained within the graph will automatically be highlighted. Hold the cursor over the lower right corner of the highlighted cells and drag it to the right until it is directly over this new additional data column.
If you do this successfully, you will be able to see a third bar added to each cluster within the bar graph.
This means you aren’t stuck with a lot of fixed data when you create a bar graph in Excel. Add data whenever you need to, and the graph will be automatically updated to reflect it.
Editing Your Bar Chart
To make any type of alteration to the color scheme of your bar graph – and to see all of your color options – you should use the Change Colors dropdown.
The Quick Layout menu provides you with many pre-made choices. Move your cursor over each of the options if you want to see a live preview of how your data will look in that particular chart.
Customizing the information in your chart is quite simple, too. Click on the Add Chart Element button to view a menu full of things you can add to (or remove from) your chart. This will help you to more accurately depict your data.
That’s all there is to it! Creating bar graphs can be quite fun, as long as you know exactly what you are doing in the process. Hopefully you now have more of an idea of how to select your preferred chart type, make a bar graph, and also edit it to showcase any relevant data.