How to make a Bar Graph?

By | October 27, 2017

What is a bar graph?

A bar graph is a way of presenting statistical data in a graphical form – in the form of a bar chart.

As in all of the graphs, the values represented in x-axes, are independent values, those that we see in y-axis are dependent ones.

The height of each column indicates the frequency of occurrence of the parameter values ​​in the selected range, and the number of columns –  the number of selected ranges.

Bar chart shows the big changes over a period of time. Bar charts are easy to make and widely spread in the marketing sector.

Bar Graphs

Bar Graphs


There are some types of bar charts such as composite, grouped and simple ones. Let’s look at what they are!

A Grouped Bar Chart

It is used when there’s a need of showing more than one data in the same graph. The extra information can only be an independent variable added next to the first independent variable and this is how you see the grouped bars of different colors.

A Simple Bar Chart,

It is, on the other hand, is just for one type of data. One kind of information on x-axes, and one kind- in y-axes.

Bar Graphs

Bar Graphs

A Composite Bar Chart

It is another way of representing the bar charts. Here, the variables are stacked, one on the top of another. Composite bar charts are meant to use for the representation of percentage.

All of the different types of bar charts are usually used for different purposes.

How to make a bar chart?

Despite of many programs for making bar charts, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word are the easiest and used ones.

Let’s start with a Word document.

Bar Graphs

Bar Graphs

How to make a bar chart on Microsoft Word?

  • Go ahead and open up your program.
  • Go to Insert tab and click on ‘İnsert object’ and select ‘Object’.
  • Click on ‘Create New’ tab, on the dialog box that has appeared and select Microsoft Graph Chart as an object type; click OK.
  • You should have seen your graph by now. Now, go ahead and replace the data like titles, numbers, texts with your own.

Good Job! Your Bar chart is ready.

Now, let’s move on to the next one, making a bar chart using Excel.

  • How to make a bar chart in Excel?

Let’s go with an example and say that we made a research on what colors people prefer the most buying a new car. Now we want to make a bar graph to visually see the statistics.

Bar Graphs

Bar Graphs


Open up your program and start typing in your data. For that, choose two columns next to each other. Title the one on the left ‘Colors’ and the one on the right – ‘Number of car sales’. Type the colors under the title ‘Colors’ and sales number under ‘Number of car sales’.


  • Select the data you wrote, go to the Insert tab and from ‘charts’ section, choose ‘Column’.
  • When you click on ‘Column’, you’ll see four options pop up: 2-D, 3-D, Cylinder and Cone. It is up to you which one to choose. In this case, let’s choose 2-D columns.
  • You’ll see a preview of your graph, click on ‘Switch Row / Column’ from Data section of Design tab. Now your graph should look nicer.
  • You can change the design and colors of tabs from ‘Chart Styles’ section. To change the layout, go to ‘Chart Layouts’ section and choose the most suitable one.

That’s all about making bar chart in Excel.

Bar Graphs

Bar Graphs

How to interpret bar charts?

In order to understand how to interpret the bar charts, it is a good idea to look at an example. Let’s look at the example above and read it.

  • First of all, as you could tell, it is a grouped bar chart.


  • We get to know from the title that it represents the percentage of population aged 65 and over in different countries for two different years.


  • It makes assumption how the population rates are going to be 18 years from now. The year of 1985 is shown with orange, 2035- with blue.
Bar Graphs

Bar Graphs

  • From the graph, you can tell that England had 15 percent of the population of people more than 65 years of ages and this is expected to increase to almost 23 percent in 2035.

You can use the same method for reading the other bars, too.

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy?!

We hope that you have enjoyed the article; have clear understanding of a bar graph and know how to make one yourself.