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How to Create a Bar Chart in Excel?

  • Last Updated : 14 Jul, 2021

To learn how to create a Column and Bar chart in Excel, let’s use a simple example of marks secured by some students in Science and Maths that we want to show in a chart format. Note that a column chart is one that presents our data in vertical columns. A bar graph is extremely similar in terms of the choices you’ve got but presents your data in horizontal bars. The steps below take you through creating a column chart, but you’ll also follow them if you would like to make a bar graph.

A bar chart is the horizontal version of a column chart. If you have large text labels use a bar chart. Once your data has been prepared correctly, you are then ready to create your chart. This is a quick and easy process, but it does involve a number of steps: 

Creating a Bar Chart

Step 1. We need to select all the data which you need to include in the chart.

In our example we will select a range from A1:C6.



Step 2. It’s very important to include the row headings if you want to use values as labels on the chart.

Step 3. Under the Insert menu, you will find the options for Bar Charts, choose from the multiple designs mentioned in the image below:

In our case we are creating a Column chart and bar graph, so click the Column button first. The following options will then be displayed. As you’ll be able to see, there are many options available. Select 3D Clustered Column Chart. We can change it to at least one of the opposite chart types later if we decide that this one doesn’t suit our requirements.

 Once you select a chart type, Excel will automatically create the chart and insert it into your worksheet. 

Types of Bar Charts

There are some examples of different types of charts 

Clustered column Charts

  • Use this chart type to compare values across a few categories.
  • Use it when the order of categories is not important.



Stacked column

Use this chart type to:

  • Compare parts of a whole.
  • Show how parts of a whole change over time.

100% Stacked Column

Use this chart type to:

  • Compare the percentage that each value contributes to a total.
  • Show how the percentage that each value contributes changes overtime.

3-D Clustered Column

  • Use this chart type compare values across a few categories.
  • Use it when the order of categories is not important.

3-D 100% Stacked column

Use this chart type to:



  • Compare the percentages that each value contributes to a total.
  • Show how the percentage that each value contributes changes over time.

3-D Column

Use this chart type to:

  • compare values across  a few  categories.
  • Show data on a third axis which will show some columns in front of others.

Clustered Bar Charts

Use this chart type to:

  • Compare values across a few categories.

Use it when:

  • The chart shows duration.
  • The category text is long.

Stacked Bar

Use this chart type to:

  • Compare parts of a whole across categories.
  • Show how parts of a whole change overtime.

Use it when:



  • The category text is long.

100% Stacked Bar

Use this chart type:

  • Compare the percentage that each value contributes to a total.
  • Show how the percentage that each value contributes changes overtime.

Use it when:

  • The category text is long.

3-D Clustered Bar

  • Use this chart type to:
  • Compare values across a few categories.

Use it when:

  • The chart show duration.
  • The category text is long.

3-D Stacked Bar

Use this type to:



  • Compare parts of whole across categories.
  • Show how of  a whole change over time.

Use it when:

  • The category text is long

3-D 100% Stacked Bar

Use this chart type to:

  • compare the percentage that each value contributes to a total.
  • Show how the percentage that each value contributes changes  over time

Use it when:

  • The category text is long.

Note the following points about this chart:

1. Excel has automatically put labels on an angle to fit neatly into the space available.

2. The legend to the right of the chart contains the column heading from our spreadsheet. You can change them by editing the headings in our data table.

3. Excel has chosen these colors based on a default theme. You can change the theme if you need to, and the colors will change automatically. You can also override the colors manually if you need to.

4. There is no title on the chart by default. You can add one manually, or choose a chart layout that includes one.

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