[Excel] How to make a simple bar chart

Bar charts are the most ubiquitous chart type, but still need some attention.

A simple bar chart in Excel
A simple bar chart in Excel.

Design notes

  • Current consensus says that the y-axis should start at zero.
  • If there is variation between data points and you end up with bars that cover much of the plot area consider using other chart type or a different metric.
  • Sort bars by value, not by category name
  • Choose a gap between bars so that they don’t look too fat or too thin.