Excel Error Bar (Table of Contents)
Error Bars in Excel
Error bars is one of the graphical representation of data which is used to denote the errors. Also, error bars can have plus, minus or both types of direction with Cap and No Cap style of bars. To insert error bars, first, create a chart in Excel using any Bars or Columns charts mainly from the Insert menu tab. Then click on the Plug button located at the right top corner of the chart and select Error Bars from there. To further customize the error bars choose More Options from the same menu list.
In Error Bar we have three options which are listed as follows:
- Errors Bars with Standard Error.
- Error Bars with Percentage.
- Error Bars with Standard Deviation.
How to Add Error Bars in Excel?
To add error bars in excel is very simple and easy. Let’s understand how to add error bars in Excel with a few different examples.
Excel Error Bar – Example #1
In Microsoft excel standard error bar is the exact standard deviation. The standard error is a statistical term which measures the accuracy of the specific data. In statistics, a sample means deviates from the actual mean of the population and therefore this deviation is called the standard error.
In this example, we will learn how to add error bars in the chart. Let’s consider the below example where it shows the sales actual figure and forecasting figure.
Now we will apply excel error bars by following the below steps as follows.
- First, select the Actual and Forecast figure along with the month to get the graph as shown below.
- Go to Insert menu and choose Line chart.
- We will get the below line chart with an actual and forecasting figure as follows.
- Now click on the forecast bar so that the actual line will get selected with a dotted line as shown below.
- Once we can click on the forecast we can see the layout menu. Click on the Layout menu where we can see the Error bar option.
- Click on the Error Bars option so that we will get the below option as shown below.
- In the error bar click on the second option “Error Bar with Standard Error“.
- Once we click on the standard error bar the graph will get changed as shown below. In the below screenshot we can see the standard error bar which shows fluctuation statistic measurement of Actual and forecast report.
In this example, we will learn how to add an Excel Error bar with a percentage in the graphical chart.
Let’s consider the below example which shows a chemistry lab trail test shown as follows.
Now calculate Average and standard deviation to apply for the error bar by following the below steps.
- Create two new column as Average and Standard Deviation
- Insert Average formula =AVERAGE(B2:F2) by selecting B2: F2.
- We will get the average output as follows.
- Now calculate the Standard Deviation by using the formula =STDEVA(B2:F2)
- We will get the standard deviation as follows.
- Now select the Sucrose Concentration Column and AVG column by holding the CTRL key.
- Go to Insert menu. Select the Scatter Chart that needs to be displayed. Click on the scatter chart.
- We will get the result as follows.
- We can notice that dotted lines show the average trails figure.
- Now click on the blue dots so that we will get the layout menu.
- Click on the Layout Menu and we can find the error bar option as displayed in the below screenshot.
- Click on the Error Bar and we will get error bar options. Click on the third option called “Error Bar with Percentage”.
- Once we click on the Error Bar with percentage the above graph will get changed as shown below.
- In the above screenshot, we can see that Error Bar with 5 Percentage measurement.
- By default Error Bar with Percentage take as 5 Percentage. We can change the Error Bar Percentage by applying custom values in excel as shown below.
- Click on the Error Bar where we can see More Error Bar Option as shown below.
- Click on the “More Error Bar option”.
- So that we will get the below dialogue box. We can see in the percentage column by default excel will take as 5 Percent.
- Here In this example, we are going to increase the Error Bar Percentage as 15 % as shown below.
- Close the dialogue box so that the above Error bar with percentage will be get increased with 15 percentage.
- In the below screenshot Error Bar with Percentage shows 15 percentage Error Bar measurement of 1.0, 1.0, 0.0, -1.3 and at last with value -1.4 in blue color dots as shown in the below screenshot.
In this example, we are going to see how to add Error Bar with Standard Deviation in Excel.
Consider the same example where we have already calculated Standard deviation as shown in the below screenshot where it shows chemistry labs test trails with average and standard deviation.
We can apply Error Bar with a standard Deviation by following the below steps.
- First, select the Sucrose Concentration column and Standard deviation Column.
- Go to Insert menu to choose the chart type and select the Column chart as shown below.
- We will get the below chart as follows.
- Now click on the Blue Colour bar so that we will get the dotted lines as shown below.
- Once we click on the selected dots we will get the chart layout with the Error Bar option. Choose the fourth option “Error Bars with Standard Deviation”.
- So that we will get the below standard deviation measurement chart as shown in the below screenshot.
- To show Error bar in Red Bar, follow the same process as illustrated above.
As we can notice that error bars showing a standard deviation of 0.5, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4 and 1.0
Things to Remember
- Error Bars in Excel can be applied only for charts formats.
- In Microsoft excel error bars are mostly used in chemistry labs and biology which is used to describe the data set.
- While using Error bars in excel make sure that you are using full axis i.e. numerical values must start at zero.
This has been a guide to Error Bars in Excel. Here we discuss how to add Error Bars in Excel along with excel examples and downloadable excel template. You can also go through our other suggested articles –