Create a Basic Column Chart in Excel – Tutorial

Create a Basic Column Chart in Excel - Tutorial

This tutorial shows you how to create a basic column chart in Excel.

For the purpose of this lesson, we used Excel 2016. However, you should be able to follow these steps in Excel 2007 or higher.

Steps to Create a Basic Column Chart

Follow the steps below to create a column chart.

Step 1: Type in your data.
Data to use to create a basic column chart.
Data to use for the column chart.

Type in the data for your chart. In our case, we want to show site visitors by month. Try to keep your data clean and easy to read. The title row is not necessary, but it provides a description for our data.

Step 2: Select your data.
Selected of sheet data.
Selected sheet data.

Select the data you want to show in the chart, with the title row being optional.

Step 3: Insert a 2-D column chart.
Inserting a clustered column chart.
Inserting a column chart from the menu.
  1. Click Insert from the main menu toolbar.
  2. In the Charts group, click the Insert Column or Bar Chart icon. This will open drop-down options for column and bar charts.
  3. Under 2-D Column, click the Clustered Column icon.


Column graph on sheet with data.
A basic column chart.

You have just created a basic column chart in Excel.

Additional Notes

This is just the beginning. Here are some things you can do to improve this chart.

  • Make the chart bigger. Stretch out the chart to remove the diagonal formatting of the categories.
  • Delete the title. Removing the title will show more of the plot area. It is as simple as clicking on the title and pressing the delete key.
  • Show data labels. After showing the value for each column, you can put the chart in a presentation without the sheet data.
  • Increase width of columns. Increasing the width of the columns just makes them look better.
Chart with additional formatting.
Example of column chart with additional formatting.

Additional Information

Related Tutorials

External Links

Questions on the Column Chart

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions—

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