Excel Tutorial: How To Make A Column Graph In Excel


When it comes to visualizing data in Excel, column graphs are an essential tool for displaying information in a clear and organized manner. A column graph is a type of chart that uses vertical bars to represent data values, making it easy to compare different categories or groups. Using column graphs in data visualization is important because it allows for quick analysis and interpretation of data, making it easier to identify patterns, trends, and outliers.

Key Takeaways

  • Column graphs are essential for displaying data in a clear and organized manner
  • Using column graphs allows for quick analysis and interpretation of data
  • Highlighting the data range and organizing it in columns is important for a clear representation
  • Customizing the graph with colors, styles, and labels enhances clarity and understanding
  • Aligning the graph with the data for easy comparison is crucial in data visualization

Step 1: Opening Excel and inputting data

Excel is a powerful tool for creating various types of graphs, including column graphs. Follow these steps to create a column graph in Excel.

A. How to open Excel on your computer

To open Excel on your computer, simply click on the Excel icon on your desktop or search for it in your computer's programs. Once Excel is open, you will be greeted with a blank worksheet ready for data entry.

B. Entering the data you want to represent in the column graph

Before you can create a column graph, you need to input the data you want to represent. Enter the data into the cells of your Excel worksheet, making sure to organize it in a way that makes sense for your graph. For example, if you are creating a column graph to compare sales data for different months, you might input the months in one column and the corresponding sales figures in the next column.

Once you have entered your data, you are ready to move on to the next step of creating your column graph.

Step 2: Selecting the data for the graph

Once you have opened your Excel sheet and decided on the type of graph you want to create, the next step is to select the data that you want to include in the graph. This is an important step as it determines the accuracy and clarity of the graph.

A. Highlighting the data range you want to include in the graph
  • Click and drag to highlight the range of cells that contain the data you want to include in the graph. Make sure to select both the category labels and the data values.
  • If the data is not contiguous, hold down the Ctrl key while selecting the individual ranges.

B. Ensuring the data is organized in columns for a clear representation
  • It is important to organize your data in columns to ensure a clear and accurate representation on the column graph.
  • Each column should represent a different category or data series, and each row should represent a different data point within that category or series.
  • Having the data organized in this way will make it easier for Excel to create the graph and for viewers to interpret the data.

Step 3: Inserting the column graph

Once you have selected your data and formatted it appropriately, it's time to insert a column graph into your Excel spreadsheet. Follow these simple steps to add a visually appealing representation of your data.

A. Navigating to the "Insert" tab on the Excel ribbon

To begin, navigate to the "Insert" tab located on the Excel ribbon at the top of the application window. This tab contains all the necessary tools for adding various elements to your spreadsheet, including charts and graphs.

B. Choosing the column graph option from the chart menu

After clicking on the "Insert" tab, locate the "Charts" group, where you will find the option to insert a column graph. Click on the "Column" icon to open a drop-down menu displaying different column graph options, such as clustered columns, stacked columns, and 3-D columns. Select the appropriate column graph style based on your data visualization needs.

Step 4: Customizing the column graph

Now that you have created your column graph in Excel, it's time to customize it to make it more visually appealing and easier to understand.

A. Changing the color and style of the columns

One way to make your column graph stand out is by changing the color and style of the columns. To do this, simply click on any of the columns in the graph to select them. Then, right-click and choose "Format Data Series" from the menu. This will open up a dialog box where you can customize the fill color, border color, and other style options for the columns. Experiment with different color schemes and styles to find the look that best suits your data and presentation.

B. Adding a title and labels to the graph for clarity

Adding a title and labels to your column graph can help clarify the information being presented. To add a title, click on the graph to select it, then go to the "Chart Tools" tab at the top of the Excel window. From there, click on "Chart Title" and choose whether to add a title above the graph or overlay it directly onto the graph itself.

To add labels to the graph, click on the "Layout" tab under "Chart Tools" and then select "Axis Titles" to add labels to the x and y axes. You can also click on the data series in the graph and add data labels to each column to display the exact values they represent.

Customizing the color and style of your columns and adding titles and labels can greatly enhance the visual appeal and clarity of your column graph in Excel.

Step 5: Adjusting the graph layout

Once you have created your column graph in Excel, it's important to make sure it is properly positioned and aligned for easy viewing and comparison with the data. Here are some tips for adjusting the graph layout:

A. Resizing and moving the graph within the Excel sheet
  • Resize the graph:

    To resize the graph, simply click on one of the corners and drag it to the desired size. This will help ensure that the graph is clearly visible without taking up too much space on the worksheet.
  • Move the graph:

    If you need to move the graph to a different location within the Excel sheet, simply click on the graph and drag it to the desired location. This can help with organizing the data and ensuring the graph is in a logical place for easy reference.

B. Aligning the graph with the data for easy comparison
  • Align with the data:

    It's important to ensure that the graph is aligned with the data it represents. This can be done by clicking on the graph, then using the arrow keys to move it into the desired position. This will help viewers easily compare the graph with the corresponding data.
  • Adjust the axis:

    You can also adjust the axis of the graph to align it with the data more accurately. Simply click on the axis and use the formatting options to make any necessary adjustments.


Creating a column graph in Excel is a valuable skill for anyone working with data. To recap, the steps include selecting the data, clicking on the 'Insert' tab, choosing 'Column' from the chart options, and customizing the graph to fit your needs. Column graphs are important for data analysis and presentation because they allow for easy comparison of different categories and are visually appealing. Whether you are analyzing sales data or presenting survey results, mastering the art of creating column graphs in Excel will undoubtedly elevate your data analysis and presentation skills.

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