How to Use Comparison Bar Chart in Excel (2 Practical Examples)

The article will show you how to use a comparison Bar Chart in Excel to compare several data. A Bar Chart basically represents a value by a bar. So if we put values of different magnitudes, we will see bars of different lengths in the chart. And that’s how we can use a Bar Chart for comparing two or more sets of data. This also helps us to understand the change in data which we can use in different sectors like business or weather forecasting. Let’s stick to the following sections of this article to create a comparison Bar Chart using Excel.

What Is a Comparison Bar Chart?

In a comparison, Bar Chart, bars that represent different parts of the same category are put next to one another. It’s a fantastic approach to compare the data graphically. Bar Charts are trustworthy tools for comparing objects in various groupings.

There are two types of charts in Excel that can be useful to compare different sets of data. One of them is the Bar Chart and the other one is the Column Chart. Bar Charts show the numbers of data with horizontal bars. We use this basically when the Axis or Data Labels are too long to fit in a Column Chart.

How to Use Comparison Bar Chart in Excel: 2 Examples

I’ll show you two practical examples of the application of Bar Charts. In the first example, I will show you the example of year on year comparison, and in the second example you will get the idea of comparing several (3 in this case) datasets with a bar chart.

1. Year on Year Comparison with Bar Chart

Let’s get introduced to the data first. Here, I have data of the number of goals scored by some famous footballers in 2016/17 and 2015/16 seasons. You will see the comparison between their goals in these two seasons.

comparison bar chart in excel

The comparison between two sets of data can be easily done in a Bar Chart. Please follow the description below.


  • First, select the entire range (B4:D10) and then go to Insert >> Chart >> 2-D Bar Chart.

Year on Year Comparison with Bar Chart

  • After that, you will see the Bar Chart that represents the data of our Excel sheet. We give a name to our Bar Chart which is Scoring Comparison.

  • Thereafter, notice that this Bar Chart has some limitations. We can see a comparison but there is no data labeling. To make it look more convenient, first we click on the Plus Icon beside the Bar Chart.
  • After that, we uncheck the Gridlines.
  • Next, select Data Labels >> Outside End.

  • Later, you can see the data values are at the edge of each bar. But the bars are close to each other.
  • To create a gap between these adjacent bars, right-click on any of the bars and select Format Data Series…

Year on Year Comparison with Bar Chart

  • Next, change the Series Overlap and Gap Width according to your convenience.

  • Finally, the comparison Bar Chart looks understandable, nice, and clean.

Thus you can compare two sets of data by a comparison Bar Chart.

Read More: Year Over Year Comparison Chart in Excel

2. Comparing Several Sets (3 Sets) of Data

Here, I’ll show you another example of comparing data with a Bar Chart. The data we are going to use in this section contains the average temperature of New York, Alaska, and Ohio for the first six months of a year.

Comparing Several Sets (3 Sets) of Data by Excel Bar Chart

Let’s go through the following section to understand the process of comparing these average temperatures.


  • First, select the entire dataset (B4:H7) and then go to Insert >> Chart >> 2-D Bar Chart.

  • Next, the Bar Chart will appear on the sheet. This chart needs some improvement to be convenient for the user.

  • For that reason, we format the chart by changing the Series Overlap, Gap Width, like we did in Example 1.

You can also compare the temperatures by each state. For example, you want all the average temperatures to be together in the group. For that purpose,

  • Right-click on the chart and select ‘Select Data’.

  • After that, select Switch Row/Column in the Select Data Source window and click OK.

Comparing Several Sets (3 Sets) of Data by Excel Bar Chart

  • Thereafter, you can see the comparison among temperatures by cities.

Thus you can use Bar Chart to compare several data.

Read More: Side-by-Side Comparison Chart in Excel

Practice Section

Here, I’m giving you the dataset of this article so that you can practice of your own, and gain expertise.

Download Practice Workbook


In the end, we can surmise that you can understand the usage of a comparison Bar Chart in Excel to compare different types of data. If you have any better suggestions questions or feedback regarding this article, please share them in the comment box. This will help me enrich my upcoming articles. For more queries, kindly visit our website ExcelDemy.

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Meraz Al Nahian
Meraz Al Nahian

Md. Meraz Al Nahian has worked with the ExcelDemy project for over 1.5 years. He wrote 140+ articles for ExcelDemy. He also solved a lot of user problems and worked on dashboards. He is interested in data analysis, advanced Excel, statistics, and dashboards. He also likes to explore various Excel and VBA applications. He completed his graduation in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). He enjoys exploring Excel-related features to gain efficiency... Read Full Bio

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