Creating a basic column chart in Excel – How to

Creating a basic column chart in Excel – How to

Creating a basic column chart in Excel - How to

Creating a basic column chart in Excel.


A column chart allows you to view data across various categories. For the most part, vertical bars show the amount of data in a visual format. Thus, allowing you to easily analyze that data. For example, you can see which group did better. Or, which category needs more attention.

Although you can have many columns in this type of chart, a basic column chart should have up to 12 columns. Overall, this makes it easy for your audience to understand the chart.

Steps to create a basic column chart in Excel

This lesson shows you the step-by-step process on creating a basic column chart in Excel.

In this instruction, we use Excel 2007 or higher or compatible for Windows, on a personal computer (or PC). So, all of the shortcuts and functions are based on a PC environment.

The steps

Follow the steps below to create a basic column chart in Excel.

Step 1: Enter your data
Step 1: Creating a basic column chart - The data.
  1. First, enter the data for your chart in a blank sheet. For the purpose of this lesson, follow the data in the above image. As you see, we are creating a chart using quarterly data, for revenue.

    Secondly, notice how we have the categories listed first, next to the values. Overall, this makes the data look clean, even without a chart.

Shortcut alert: Press Shift + F11 to insert a new sheet.

Step 2: Save your work
Step 2: Save an Excel file.
  1. Save your file. From the menu, select File, then Save, and give your document a name. You may want to name it something like quarterly_revenue.xlsx. As you go along, you should save your work often.

Shortcut alert: Press Ctrl + S to save.

Step 3: Create the chart
Step 3: Selected data and create the chart.
  1. Select your data, both the categories and the values.
Step 3: Create a basic column chart.
  1. Select Insert from the menu. This will display the Insert ribbon.
  2. Under the Charts group, click the column icon. This will show you a list of column and bar chart options.
  3. From the charts list, click on the Clustered Column icon. As a result, a chart should appear on your sheet.


Success! Completed column chart.

So, there you go! You should now have a column chart in your sheet. If not, then try doing it again, step-by-step.

Remember, save your work often.

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