Excel Tutorial: How To Make Excel Bar Graph


When it comes to visualizing data, bar graphs play a crucial role in representing information in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Whether you're a student, a professional, or just someone who loves working with numbers, knowing how to create a bar graph in Excel can be an essential skill. In this Excel tutorial, we'll provide a brief overview of the steps to create a bar graph in Excel, helping you to better visualize your data and make informed decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • Bar graphs are crucial for clear and easy data visualization.
  • Setting up and organizing data is essential for creating an accurate bar graph.
  • Customizing the bar graph with colors, titles, and axes is important for clarity.
  • Adding data labels helps to show exact values and improve visibility.
  • Reviewing and saving the graph, and practicing creating bar graphs in Excel, are key for proficiency.

Setting up the data

Before creating a bar graph in Excel, it is important to ensure that the data is well-organized and accurate. This will make the process of creating the graph much more efficient and effective.

A. Organizing the data to be used in the bar graph

The first step in setting up the data is to organize it in a way that is easy to understand and use. This may involve arranging the data in columns and rows, with clear labels and headings to identify each set of data.

B. Ensuring the data is clean and accurate

Once the data is organized, it is crucial to ensure that it is accurate and free from errors. This may involve checking for any missing or duplicate entries, as well as verifying the source of the data to guarantee its reliability.

Inserting the bar graph

When creating a bar graph in Excel, it is important to know how to navigate the software and select the appropriate options to achieve the desired outcome. Here are the steps to follow when inserting a bar graph:

A. Navigating to the "Insert" tab in Excel

First, open your Excel spreadsheet and navigate to the "Insert" tab located at the top of the screen. This tab contains all the options for inserting various elements into your spreadsheet, including charts and graphs.

B. Selecting the "Bar Graph" option from the chart types

Under the "Insert" tab, click on the "Charts" group to access the different chart types available. From the dropdown menu, select the "Bar" option to insert a bar graph into your spreadsheet.

C. Choosing the specific style of bar graph to be used

Once the "Bar" option is selected, Excel will provide a variety of subtypes and styles for the bar graph. Choose the specific style that best suits your data and visual preferences. You can opt for a clustered bar graph, stacked bar graph, or any other subtype available in the dropdown menu.

Customizing the bar graph

Customizing the appearance of your bar graph can help to better represent and communicate your data. Here are some ways to customize your Excel bar graph:

A. Changing the colors of the bars to better represent the data

Excel allows you to easily change the colors of the bars in your graph to help differentiate between different categories or data sets. To do this, simply click on the bars in the graph to select them, and then right-click to access the formatting options. From there, you can choose a different color for the bars that will make your data more visually appealing and easier to interpret.

B. Adding a title to the graph for clarity

Adding a title to your bar graph can provide important context and clarity for the reader. To add a title, click on the graph to select it, then go to 'Chart Tools' > 'Layout' > 'Chart Title' and choose 'Above Chart' or 'Centered Overlay Title'. This will allow you to enter a title for your graph that clearly indicates what the data represents.

C. Adjusting the axes to accurately reflect the data

It is important to ensure that the axes on your bar graph accurately represent the data being presented. To adjust the axes, click on the graph to select it, and then right-click to access the formatting options. From there, you can adjust the minimum and maximum values for each axis to ensure that the data is accurately represented. You can also add gridlines to make it easier to read the graph.

Adding Data Labels

When creating a bar graph in Excel, it's important to include data labels to provide viewers with the exact values of each bar. This can help clarify the information being presented and make it easier for others to interpret the data.

Including data labels to show the exact values of each bar

  • Step 1: Begin by selecting the data series for which you want to add data labels.
  • Step 2: Right-click on the selected data series and choose "Add Data Labels" from the context menu.
  • Step 3: The data labels will now appear on the graph, displaying the exact values of each bar.

Positioning the data labels for optimal visibility

  • Step 1: Once the data labels are added, you can click on any individual label to select it.
  • Step 2: After selecting a data label, you can click and drag it to a new position if needed.
  • Step 3: If you want to adjust the position of all the data labels at once, you can right-click on any data label and choose "Format Data Labels." From there, you can adjust the label position under the "Label Options" tab.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your Excel bar graph includes clear and accurate data labels, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your data visualization.

Finalizing the graph

After creating the bar graph in Excel, it's important to finalize it before using it in presentations or reports. This involves reviewing the graph for any errors, saving it in the desired format, and exporting it for use in other documents.

A. Reviewing the graph for any errors or inaccuracies
  • Double-check the data: Ensure that the data used to create the graph is accurate and up to date.
  • Verify the layout: Check the layout of the graph, including the axes, labels, and legend, to make sure they are clear and easy to understand.
  • Test interactivity: If the graph includes interactive elements, such as filters or drill-down options, test them to ensure they function as intended.

B. Saving the graph in the desired format
  • Choose the format: Decide on the file format in which you want to save the graph, such as JPEG, PNG, PDF, or Excel workbook format.
  • Consider compatibility: If you plan to share the graph with others, consider the compatibility of the chosen file format with the software they use.
  • Save the graph: Use the "Save As" option to save the graph in the desired format, and give it a clear and descriptive file name.

C. Exporting the graph for use in presentations or reports
  • Copy and paste: To use the graph in a presentation or report, you can simply copy it from Excel and paste it into the desired document.
  • Save as image: If you need to use the graph in a non-editable format, such as in an email or on a website, consider saving it as an image file and then inserting it into the document.
  • Embed the graph: For documents that support it, such as PowerPoint presentations or Word documents, you can also choose to embed the Excel graph directly into the file.


Overall, creating an Excel bar graph is a straightforward process that can greatly enhance your data visualization skills. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can easily create a visually appealing bar graph to represent your data effectively. Using bar graphs is important for showcasing comparisons and trends in your data, making it easier for your audience to interpret and understand. I encourage you to practice creating bar graphs in Excel to improve your proficiency and become more adept at using this powerful data representation tool.

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