How to Use Excel to Make a Percentage Bar Graph

Updated April 17, 2017

Presenting your data in a bar graph can amaze, amuse or intrigue your audience if presented well. You can turn virtually any data into a chart or graph with Excel. If you organise your data correctly before you create the graph, Excel will automatically turn that data into an attractive graph with a few inputs from you.

Open Excel to a blank spreadsheet.

Enter your numbers in cells in table form and add labels for each column and row. For example, if you want to compare men to women and the per cent who smoke vs. the per cent who do not smoke, you would create a 2x2 table. You would label one column "Men" and one column "Women." To the left, you would label the first row "Smoke" and the second row "Don't smoke." When entering numbers in each cell, add the per cent sign to let Excel know that these are percentages. For example, you should enter "32%" instead of "32."

Select the table you created by clicking and dragging to highlight the cells.

Click the "Insert" tab on the ribbon.

Click "Bar" in the Charts group. Select a bar style that suits your needs. Excel will automatically create a bar graph with percentages for either your X or Y axis.

Click inside the chart to customise colours, sizes, fonts and background. Click the "Design," "Layout" or "Format" tabs in the Chart Tools section of the ribbon to select custom features.

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About the Author

Danielle Cort has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in psychology, health, education and parenting. She has published articles in "Family" magazine. Before becoming a freelance writer, Cort worked in the public policy research sector, conducting research, creating surveys and budgets. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts.