How to Create, Plot & Modify an Excel Histogram (5 Methods)


  • In Excel 2016 or newer versions, you can directly insert a statistic chart.
  • In older versions, you can use Data Analysis ToolPak or different functions such as FREQUENCY or COUNTIF and COUNTIFS to perform the same task.

What Is Histogram?

A histogram is a graphical representation of the distribution of numerical data. It divides data into bins or intervals and shows the frequency or count of values within each bin. It provides a visual summary of data distribution and helps identify patterns and outliers.

Read More: Difference Between Excel Histogram and Bar Graph

Dataset Overview

For demonstration purposes, we’ll use a dataset containing student names and scores.


Method 1 – Create a Histogram by Inserting a Statistic Chart (Excel 2016 or newer)

To create a histogram in Excel 2016 or newer versions, you can insert a statistic chart from the Insert tab.

  • Select your data.
  • Go to the Insert tab >> click on Statistic Chart >> choose Histogram.

Inserting Statistic Chart

  • To adjust the gap width, double-click any rectangle in the histogram and open Format Data Series options.

Opening Format Data Series options by double-clicking any rectangle

  • Adjusting the gap width setting from the Series Options.

Changing Gap Width

  • Change the bin width by double-clicking the bin values and opening the Format Axis window.

double-clicking on the bin values

  • In Axis Options, explore different bin settings:
    • By Category: Use for text categories.
    • Automatic: Automatically determines the number of bins or bin width.
    • Bin Width: Manually set your desired bin width.
    • Number of Bins: Specify the number of bins.
  • Customize your histogram as needed.

Changing Bin Width

  • Your histogram has been created.

Created Histogram Inserting Statistic Chart in Excel

Read More: How to Create a Histogram in Excel with Bins

Method 2 – Use Data Analysis ToolPak

  • Enable Data Analysis ToolPak (if not already enabled):
    • Press ALT + F + T.
    • Go to the Add-ins tab and click Go.

Opening Excel Options box

    • Check the Analysis ToolPak checkbox and click OK.

Adding Analysis ToolPak in Excel

  • Go to the Data tab and click Data Analysis.
  • Select Histogram and click OK.

choosing histogram in Data Analysis box in Excel

  • Insert your Input Range, Bin Range and Output Range.
  • Check the Chart Output checkbox and click on OK.

Histogram box

  • A histogram has been created.

Created Histogram Using Data Analysis Toolpak in Excel

Read More: How to Make a Histogram in Excel Using Data Analysis

Method 3 – Apply the FREQUENCY Function

  • Use the FREQUENCY function to count values in each bin:

Using FREQUENCY function to make histogram in Excel

  • Select the frequency column, go to the Insert tab, and choose Clustered Column Chart.

inserting column chart to create a histogram

  • Edit the X-axis values:
    • Right-click the chart, choose Select Data.

editing chart data

    • Click Edit under Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels.

Select Data Source box

  • Choose the bin column as the axis label range and click OK.

inserting Axis Label

  • Now you have your desired histogram in Excel.

Histogram created using FREQUENCY function

Method 4 – Using COUNTIF and COUNTIFS Functions

Syntax of COUNTIF function

Click here to enlarge this image.

  • Use the following formula to find the count value for the first bin:

using COUNTIF function

  • For the rest of the bins, use this formula:

Using COUNTIFS function

  • Follow the same steps as shown in Method 3 to insert a column chart and create your histogram in Excel.

Inserting column chart

Method 5 – Create a Histogram with the PivotChart Tool

Using PivotChart:

  • Go to the Insert tab and click on PivotChart.

Inserting PivotChart

  • Insert your data range in the Table/Range text box and specify the output location in the Location textbox. Click OK.

Create PivotTable box

  • Drag the Score field into the Axis and Values area.

PivotChart Fields toolbox

  • Click on Sum of Score in the Values area and go to Value Field Settings.

changing field value settings

  • Select Count as the Summarize value field by option and click on OK.

field value settings box

Create Groups:

  • Right-click on any cell from the Row Labels and select Group.

Grouping values

  • Enter Starting, Ending at, and by values, then click OK.

Grouping box

  • Your histogram will be ready.

Created histogram using pivot chart in Excel

Customizing Your Histogram Chart

Here are some customizations you can apply to your histogram chart:

  • Organizing by Category: Assign each category to a specific bin or interval. For example, organize customer ages into bins to visualize their distribution.
  • Adding, Removing, or Changing Elements: Customize elements like axis titles, data labels, and chart titles by selecting the chart and clicking the “+” sign.
  • Defining Bin Width: Specify the range or width of each bin based on your data.
  • Creating Bins Automatically: Use automatic binning to determine the number of bins or manually set the number of bins.
  • Creating Overflow and Underflow Bins: Identify exceptional or underperforming periods by creating overflow and underflow bins.
  • Resizing Chart: Drag the chart using the handlebars in Excel.
  • Formatting Axis Elements: Right-click any axis to access the Format Axis toolbox.
  • Removing Space Between Bins: Adjust the Gap Width option to control spacing between bins.

Things to Remember

Remember to choose an appropriate number of bins or bin width for your data. Too few bins oversimplify information, while too many can make it hard to understand.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is a histogram different from a column chart?

  • A histogram is a type of bar chart that represents the distribution of a continuous variable. In a histogram, the bars touch each other to show the continuity of the data. It’s commonly used to visualize how data is distributed across different intervals or bins.
  • On the other hand, a column chart displays discrete categories on the horizontal axis. Each category corresponds to a separate column, allowing for easy comparison among different categories. Column charts are often used for categorical data or to compare distinct values.

2. Are there any keyboard shortcuts for creating a histogram in Excel?

  • While there isn’t a specific keyboard shortcut exclusively for creating histograms, you can follow these steps efficiently:
    • Select Data Range: Highlight the data range for which you want to create a histogram.
    • Insert Tab: Press Alt + N to activate the Insert tab.
    • Chart Type: Press SA (or navigate using arrow keys) to select the Bar chart type.
    • Histogram Chart: Finally, choose the Histogram chart option.

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the practice workbook from here:

Excel Histogram: Knowledge Hub

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Arin Islam
Arin Islam

Anowara Islam Arin, a graduate of Civil Engineering from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology, Bangladesh, serves as a technical content creator in the ExcelDemy project. Possessing a passion for innovation and critical thinking, she actively embraces challenges. Beyond her engineering background, Arin exhibits a keen interest in Excel, having authored numerous articles on Excel & VBA-related issues to simplify the experience for users facing obstacles in Excel. Besides, she is also interested in Advanced Excel,... Read Full Bio

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