How to Use Excel to Make a Percentage Bar Graph

Percentage bar graphs compare the percentage that each item contributes to an entire category. Rather than showing the data as clusters of individual bars, percentage bar graphs show a single bar with each measured item represented by a different color. Each bar on the category axis (often called the x-axis) represents 100 percent.

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100 Percent Stacked graph
credit: Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Charts like this help you to analyze things like how you are spending money each quarter or which salespeople contribute the most sales each month.

Create a Percentage Bar Graph

Step

Select the data you wish to graph.

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All chart data selected.
credit: Photo courtesy of Microsoft
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Pick the "100% Stacked Bar" option.
credit: Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Click the Insert tab and then the drop-down arrow next to Bar in the Charts group. Be sure to choose the third option from either the 2-D Bar or 3-D Bar choices, which is 100% Stacked Bar.

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Switch Row/Column data if necessary.
credit: Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Choose the preferred data for the Category Axis. Verify that your data is correct, then:

Step

  • Select the chart.
  • Click the Design tab from Chart Tools, located to the right of the View tab.
  • Press the Switch Row/Column button in the Data group on the ribbon.

Modify a Percentage Bar Graph

Step

Selecting the correct data is especially critical for this type of chart. Including the total in your data selection will skew the results, so remove it if selected:

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Remove the "Total" category if selected.
credit: Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Step

  • Select the Total data series.
  • Press Delete.

Step

The total category should disappear from both the bars and the graph's legend.

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Insert Data Labels.
credit: Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Adding Data Labels to bar graphs is simple. Click Design under Chart Tools and then press the drop-down arrow next to Add Chart Element.

Step

You can also hover over your chart until three icons appear next to the right border of the graph. Choose + to add chart elements. Click the check box next to Data Labels.

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Format pane for data labels.
credit: Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Double-click on data labels to open the Format Data Labels pane. Explore these options to change the position, alignment and other properties.