How To Add Error Bars In Excel

4.5 min read|Last Updated: January 26th, 2024|Categories: excel|
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Error bars in Excel is a graphical tool for showing the spread of the data. It’s generally used to show standard deviation and standard error, which is the degree to which the members of your dataset differ from the mean of the group. 

If you’re working in an industry where these characteristics of data matter to you, then you’re likely to use the error bars feature in Excel. So let’s go through it.

In the following examples, we’re going to assume you have already graphed the data and created your chart. Excel allows you to add error bars to a variety of charts such as bar charts, line charts or scattergrams.

You can add these error bars to the chart:

3 different error bars options in Excel
  • Standard Error: shows the standard error for all the values in the dataset. Which is the likelihood of difference of sample mean to the population mean
  • Percentage: Calculates a percentage error rate and the amount for the values provided
  • Standard Deviation: Shows the standard deviation for all the values in the dataset.

Now let’s take a look at how to calculate error bars in Excel.



How to Add Standard Deviation Bars in Excel

  1. Click on the chart
  2. Click on the plus sign on the top-right corner
  3. Select the Error Bars box. It will list the choices of items that you can add to your chart.
  4. Click on Standard Deviation