How to Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel (With Easy Steps)

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Today, we will discuss step-by-step procedures to add horizontal error bars in Excel. Generally, error bars indicate the errors in results and show the variability in Excel. In most cases, you will find vertical error bars in Excel. We can add horizontal error bars only to bar charts, X-Y scatter plots, or bubble charts. So, without further delay, let’s start the discussion.


Error Bars in Excel

Error bars in Excel indicate the deviation or variability of a data point. It shows how much the real result can deviate from the measured result. This is an essential feature for data analysis. The below picture shows added vertical error bars. Here, each error bar shows how much or less the sales amount can be.

There are different kinds of error bars in Excel. They are Standard Error, Percentage, Standard Deviation, Fixed Value, and Custom Error Bars. These error bars are used for different purposes.  Now, let’s follow the steps below to add horizontal error bars in Excel.


Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel: Step-by-Step Procedures

To explain the steps, we will use a dataset that contains information about the sales and profit of a shop. Here, we will plot this information in a graph first. Then, we will add horizontal error bars.


STEP 1: Plot Graph to Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel

  • First of all, we need to plot the data.
  • To do so, select the cells that you want to plot. Here, we have selected cells B6 to C9.

Plot Graph to Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel

  • After that, go to the Insert tab and select Insert Column or Bar Chart icon. A drop-down menu will appear.
  • Select the Clustered Bar icon from the drop-down menu.

Plot Graph to Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel

  • Instantly, you will see a bar graph like the picture below.

Plot Graph to Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel


STEP 2: Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel Using Plus Icon

  • In the second step, we will add horizontal error bars.
  • For that purpose, click on the plus (+) icon. It will open the Chart Elements option.
  • Select Error Bars from there.

Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel Using Plus Icon

  • As a result, you will see horizontal error bars like those below.

Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel Using Plus Icon


STEP 3: Change Settings of Horizontal Error Bars

  • In the third step, we will show how to change the settings of horizontal error bars.
  • To change settings, click on the plus (+) icon.
  • After that, put the cursor on the Error Bars. An arrow sign will appear.
  • Click on the arrow sign to open a drop-down menu.
  • Select More Options from there.

Change Settings of Horizontal Error Bars

  • After that, the Format Error Bars options will occur on the right side of the screen. You can change the Direction, End Style, and Error Amount of the Horizontal Error Bar.

Change Settings of Horizontal Error Bars

  • From the settings, we can see Standard Error is currently applied.

Change Settings of Horizontal Error Bars


STEP 4: Use Excel Scatter Chart to Add Horizontal Error Bars

Previously, we used bar charts to add horizontal error bars. But you can also use the scatter chart to do so. The process is slightly different.

  • In the first place, select cells from your dataset like in STEP-1.
  • Then, go to the Insert tab and select the Insert Scatter icon.
  • After that, click on the Scatter icon.

Use Excel Scatter Chart to Add Horizontal Error Bars

  • Instantly, you will see a graph like the picture below.

Use Excel Scatter Chart to Add Horizontal Error Bars

  • Now, click on the plus (+) icon and select Error Bars. A menu will appear.
  • Select More Options from the menu.

Use Excel Scatter Chart to Add Horizontal Error Bars

  • In the following step, select Error Bar Options in the Format Error Bars section.
  • Next, select Series “Sales” X Error Bars to add horizontal error bars.

Use Excel Scatter Chart to Add Horizontal Error Bars

  • Finally, there will be error bars in your graph.

Use Excel Scatter Chart to Add Horizontal Error Bars

Read More: How to Add Standard Deviation Error Bars in Excel


How to Add Error Bars in Excel 2010 or Earlier Versions

The process of adding error bars in Excel 2010 or earlier versions is different from the above steps. To add error bars in the earlier versions, pay attention to the steps below.

STEPS:

  • Firstly, click on the chart to activate the Chart Tools option on the ribbon.
  • After that, go to the Layout tab.
  • Then, select Error Bars in the Analysis section.
  • A drop-down menu will occur. You can select different types of Error Bars from there.

How to Format Error Bars in Excel

Formatting error bars is important to make the graph more understandable. In Excel, we can do that very quickly. Just follow the steps below to see how it’s done.

STEPS:

  • In the first place, select an error bar and right-click on it. It will open the Context Menu.
  • Select Format Error Bars from there.

How to Format Error Bars in Excel

  • After that, click on the Fill & Line icon to change the color and line of the error bars.

  • Also, you can use the Effects section to edit more.

  • Finally, after formatting, our error bars look like the picture below.


How to Delete Error Bars

Deleting error bars is one of the easiest tasks. The steps are given below.

STEPS:

  • In the beginning, select an error bar and then right-click on it. A Context Menu will appear.
  • Select Delete from there.
  • Alternatively, you can press the Delete key on the keyboard.


Download Practice Book

Download the practice book here.


Conclusion

In this tutorial, we have demonstrated step-by-step guidelines to ‘Add Horizontal Error Bars in Excel‘. Moreover, this discussion will help you to add all types of error bars. Furthermore, the practice book is also added at the beginning of the article. You can also download the practice book to exercise more. Last of all, if you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.


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Mursalin Ibne Salehin
Mursalin Ibne Salehin

Mursalin Ibne Salehin holds a BSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Over the past 2 years, he has actively contributed to the ExcelDemy project, where he authored over 150 articles. He has also led a team with content development works. Currently, he is working as a Reviewer in the ExcelDemy Project. He likes using and learning about Microsoft Office, especially Excel. He is interested in data analysis with Excel, machine learning,... Read Full Bio

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