A histogram or Pareto (sorted histogram) is a column chart that shows frequency data. Here’s a typical example:
To create a histogram in Excel, you use the Histogram tool of the Analysis ToolPak. It uses two columns of data to create a histogram -- one for data you want to analyze and one for bin numbers that represent the intervals by which you want to measure the frequency.
Make sure you load the Analysis ToolPak to add the Data Analysis command to the Data tab. Then you’ll be ready to create a histogram. Here’s how:
- On a worksheet, type the input data in one column, adding a label in the first cell if you want.
Be sure to use quantitative numeric data, like item amounts or test scores. The Histogram tool won’t work with qualitative numeric data, like identification numbers entered as text.
- In the next column, type the bin numbers in ascending order, adding a label in the first cell if you want.
It’s a good idea to use your own bin numbers because they may be more useful for your analysis. If you don't enter any bin numbers, the Histogram tool will create evenly distributed bin intervals by using the minimum and maximum values in the input range as start and end points.
- Click Data > Data Analysis.
- Click Histogram > OK.
- Under Input, do the following:
- In the Input Range box, enter the cell reference for the data range that has the input numbers.
- In the Bin Range box, enter the cell reference for the range that has the bin numbers.
If you used column labels on the worksheet, you can include them in the cell references.
Tip Instead of entering references manually, you can click to temporarily collapse the dialog box to select the ranges on the worksheet. Clicking the button again expands the dialog box.
- If you included column labels in the cell references, check the Labels box.
- Under Output options, choose an output location.
You can put the histogram on the same worksheet, a new worksheet in the current workbook, or in a new workbook.
- Check one or more of the following boxes:
- Pareto (sorted histogram) This shows the data in descending order of frequency.
- Cumulative Percentage This shows cumulative percentages and adds a cumulative percentage line to the histogram chart.
- Chart Output This shows an embedded histogram chart.
- Click OK.
If you want customize your histogram, you can change text labels, and click anywhere in the histogram chart to use the Chart Elements, Chart Styles, and Chart Filter buttons on the right of the chart.
Give it a try
If you want to create a histogram in Excel, you can use this sample input data.
This embedded workbook shows the finished histogram. You can create the histogram yourself by copying cells A1:B11 and pasting them into cell A1 in a new worksheet. Or, you can download the workbook to your computer and work in that file.
You can create the histogram by opening this workbook in Excel and switching to Sheet2 (click the Sheet2 tab). Download this file by clicking the Excel icon on the lower-right corner of the workbook, and save the file to a convenient place on your computer. Open the workbook in Excel and then follow the steps earlier in this article.
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