How to Make Simple Bar Graphs

By Carrie Burns

Bar graphs provide a strong visual representation of data or statistics. Most readers understand a simple bar graph more quickly and easily than a data table. Creating a simple bar graph is easier than ever with the proliferation of computers, since Internet-based and common applications will create charts and graphs for you with a few clicks of a button.

Step 1

Put titles for each column into row 1 of a new spreadsheet. Enter the independent variable into the first column, A; and the dependent variable into the second column, B.

Step 2

Enter the corresponding data into the spreadsheet. For a simple bar graph, you will usually only have one dependent and one independent variable, so data entry will not take a long time.

Step 3

Highlight the entire section of the spreadsheet that contains data. To highlight, click the mouse button while the cursor hovers over cell A1, and hold the button down while you drag it.

Step 4

Click on the toolbar button that looks like a little chart. If there isn't a button, go to the "Insert" menu and select "Chart" from the options.

Step 5

Select "Column" from the list of chart types. Select the simple bar chart image from the sub-type list. It is in the top-left corner. Selecting "Bar" from the chart types will create a horizontal bar graph and "Column" will create a vertical bar graph. Click "Next."

Step 6

Review and confirm the data range and whether your data is organized in rows or columns. The chart should preview a close approximation of the final chart. Click "Next" if everything looks good.

Step 7

Enter titles for the chart as well as the X and Y axis. Include units in your titles if necessary.

Step 8

Click on the tab titled "Legend" and un-check the box where it ways "Show Legend." Unless you are using multiple independent variables, you will not need to display a legend with your graph. Click "Finish."