Add error bars or up/down bars to a chart

Which Office program are you using?


Word

Error bars express potential error amounts that are graphically relative to each data point (data point: Individual values plotted in a chart and represented by bars, columns, lines, pie or doughnut slices, dots, and other shapes called data markers. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) or data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) in a data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.). For example, you could show 5 percent positive and negative potential error amounts in the results of a scientific experiment. You can add error bars to data series in a 2-D area, bar, column, line, stock, xy (scatter), or bubble chart. For xy (scatter) and bubble charts, you can display error bars for the x values, the y values, or both.

Error bars in a chart

Do any of the following:

ShowExpress errors as a percentage, standard deviation, or standard error

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add error bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab. 

For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Error Bars.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

  1. Do one of the following:
Click To
Error Bars with Standard Error

Apply the standard error, using the following formula:

Standard error formula

s = series number
I = point number in series s
m = number of series for point y in chart
n = number of points in each series
y is = data value of series s and the I th point
n y = total number of data values in all series

Error Bars with Percentage Apply a percentage of the value for each data point in the data series
Error Bars with Standard Deviation

Apply a multiple of the standard deviation, using the following formula:

Standard deviation formula

s = series number
I = point number in series s
m = number of series for point y in chart
n = number of points in each series
y is = data value of series s and the I th point
n y = total number of data values in all series
M = arithmetic mean

ShowExpress errors as custom values

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add error bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab.

 For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Error Bars, and then click Error Bars Options.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

If you see the Add Error Bars dialog box, select the series that you want to add error bars to.

  1. In the navigation pane, click Error Bars.
  2. Under Error amount, click Custom, and then click Specify Value.
  3. Switch to Excel.

When you switch to Excel, the Custom Error Bars dialog box appears.

  1. In the Positive Error Value and Negative Error Value boxes, type the values that you want for each data point, separated by commas (for example, 0.4, 0.3, 0.8), and then click OK.

 Note   You can also define error values as a range of cells from the same Excel workbook. To select the range of cells, in the Custom Error Bars dialog box, clear the contents of the Positive Error Value or Negative Error Value box, and then select the range of cells that you want to use.

  1. Switch to Word.
  2. In the Format Error Bars dialog box, click OK.

ShowAdd up/down bars

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add up/down bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab. 

For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Up/Down Bars, and then click the up/down bar that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

See also

Create a chart

Edit data in a chart

Change a chart

PowerPoint

Error bars express potential error amounts that are graphically relative to each data point (data point: Individual values plotted in a chart and represented by bars, columns, lines, pie or doughnut slices, dots, and other shapes called data markers. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) or data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) in a data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.). For example, you could show 5 percent positive and negative potential error amounts in the results of a scientific experiment. You can add error bars to data series in a 2-D area, bar, column, line, stock, xy (scatter), or bubble chart. For xy (scatter) and bubble charts, you can display error bars for the x values, the y values, or both.

Error bars in a chart

Do any of the following:

ShowExpress errors as a percentage, standard deviation, or standard error

  1. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add error bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab. 

For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Error Bars.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

  1. Do one of the following:
Click To
Error Bars with Standard Error

Apply the standard error, using the following formula:

Standard error formula

s = series number
I = point number in series s
m = number of series for point y in chart
n = number of points in each series
y is = data value of series s and the I th point
n y = total number of data values in all series

Error Bars with Percentage Apply a percentage of the value for each data point in the data series
Error Bars with Standard Deviation

Apply a multiple of the standard deviation, using the following formula:

Standard deviation formula

s = series number
I = point number in series s
m = number of series for point y in chart
n = number of points in each series
y is = data value of series s and the I th point
n y = total number of data values in all series
M = arithmetic mean

ShowExpress errors as custom values

  1. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add error bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab.

 For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Error Bars, and then click Error Bars Options.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

If you see the Add Error Bars dialog box, select the series that you want to add error bars to.

  1. In the navigation pane, click Error Bars.
  2. Under Error amount, click Custom, and then click Specify Value.
  3. Switch to Excel.

When you switch to Excel, the Custom Error Bars dialog box appears.

  1. In the Positive Error Value and Negative Error Value boxes, type the values that you want for each data point, separated by commas (for example, 0.4, 0.3, 0.8), and then click OK.

 Note   You can also define error values as a range of cells from the same Excel workbook. To select the range of cells, in the Custom Error Bars dialog box, clear the contents of the Positive Error Value or Negative Error Value box, and then select the range of cells that you want to use.

  1. Switch to PowerPoint.
  2. In the Format Error Bars dialog box, click OK.

ShowAdd up/down bars

  1. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add up/down bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab. 

For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Up/Down Bars, and then click the up/down bar that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

See also

Create a chart

Edit data in a chart

Change a chart

Excel

Error bars express potential error amounts that are graphically relative to each data point (data point: Individual values plotted in a chart and represented by bars, columns, lines, pie or doughnut slices, dots, and other shapes called data markers. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) or data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) in a data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.). For example, you could show 5 percent positive and negative potential error amounts in the results of a scientific experiment. You can add error bars to data series in a 2-D area, bar, column, line, stock, xy (scatter), or bubble chart. For xy (scatter) and bubble charts, you can display error bars for the x values, the y values, or both.

Error bars in a chart

Do any of the following:

ShowExpress errors as a percentage, standard deviation, or standard error

  1. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add error bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab. 

For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Error Bars.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

  1. Do one of the following:
Click To
Error Bars with Standard Error

Apply the standard error, using the following formula:

Standard error formula

s = series number
I = point number in series s
m = number of series for point y in chart
n = number of points in each series
y is = data value of series s and the I th point
n y = total number of data values in all series

Error Bars with Percentage Apply a percentage of the value for each data point in the data series
Error Bars with Standard Deviation

Apply a multiple of the standard deviation, using the following formula:

Standard deviation formula

s = series number
I = point number in series s
m = number of series for point y in chart
n = number of points in each series
y is = data value of series s and the I th point
n y = total number of data values in all series
M = arithmetic mean

ShowExpress errors as custom values

  1. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add error bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab.

 For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Error Bars, and then click Error Bars Options.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

If you see the Add Error Bars dialog box, select the series that you want to add error bars to.

  1. In the navigation pane, click Error Bars.
  2. Under Error amount, click Custom, and then click Specify Value.
  3. In the Positive Error Value and Negative Error Value boxes, type the values that you want for each data point, separated by commas (for example, 0.4, 0.3, 0.8), and then click OK.

 Note   You can also define error values as a range of cells from the same Excel workbook. To select the range of cells, in the Custom Error Bars dialog box, clear the contents of the Positive Error Value or Negative Error Value box, and then select the range of cells that you want to use.

  1. In the Format Error Bars dialog box, click OK.

ShowAdd up/down bars

  1. In the chart, select the data series that you want to add up/down bars to, and then click the Chart Layout tab. 

For example, in a line chart, click one of the lines in the chart, and all the data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a cell on a sheet. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) of that data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.) become selected.

  1. Under Analysis, click Up/Down Bars, and then click the up/down bar that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Analysis group

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

See also

Create a chart

Edit data in a chart

Change a chart

Hide error values and error indicators

 
 
Applies to:
Excel for Mac 2011, PowerPoint for Mac 2011, Word for Mac 2011