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Excel 2007: Charts in Depth

Adding error bars


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Excel 2007: Charts in Depth

with Dennis Taylor

Video: Adding error bars

To show values above and/or below points in a chart series, you can insert what are called vertical error bars. They can be based on percentages or fixed values or even standard deviation calculations. And these work in line charts. We are probably more likely to see them here, but they also work in column and bar charts, also in scatter charts and bubble charts, but no other types. So in the lower chart here--and I think you'll find that these tend to work better when you are working only with the single series, although you can use multiple series.
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  1. 1m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      46s
  2. 22m 7s
    1. Identifying chart elements like plot area, chart area, gridlines, and legends
      5m 3s
    2. Selecting the right chart type
      8m 2s
    3. Understanding chart terminology
      6m 31s
    4. Understanding the Ribbon and the Design, Layout, and Format tabs
      2m 31s
  3. 16m 24s
    1. Selecting data to display as a chart
      6m 17s
    2. Creating charts instantly with shortcuts
      4m 33s
    3. Creating charts with standard menu commands
      2m 24s
    4. Creating presentation-ready charts with just a few adjustments
      3m 10s
  4. 28m 8s
    1. Switching rows and columns for a different view of the data
      3m 9s
    2. Setting a default chart type and creating a template
      3m 47s
    3. Dealing with empty and hidden cells
      4m 18s
    4. Choosing a chart layout
      4m 33s
    5. Choosing a chart style from 48 colorful variations
      3m 34s
    6. Changing the location of a chart
      3m 33s
    7. Moving and resizing a chart
      5m 14s
  5. 11m 25s
    1. Using pictures as chart elements
      3m 55s
    2. Adding shapes and arrows
      3m 37s
    3. Adding floating text and text boxes
      3m 53s
  6. 33m 45s
    1. Adding, editing, and removing chart titles
      3m 15s
    2. Adding horizontal and vertical titles
      3m 56s
    3. Linking titles to content
      2m 32s
    4. Showing numbers of different scales
      4m 38s
    5. Specifying the position of tick marks and axis labels
      2m 41s
    6. Changing the numeric format on labels
      5m 34s
    7. Adding, editing, and removing legends
      3m 19s
    8. Adding and editing data labels
      4m 40s
    9. Showing the source of a chart's data
      3m 10s
  7. 8m 13s
    1. Modifying axis scaling
      3m 50s
    2. Working with gridlines
      4m 23s
  8. 12m 53s
    1. Analyzing existing and future data with trendlines
      4m 2s
    2. Adding drop lines
      3m 14s
    3. Adding high-low lines and up-down bars
      1m 39s
    4. Adding error bars
      3m 58s
  9. 9m 13s
    1. Selecting shape fill and outline
      3m 3s
    2. Adding shape effects
      3m 19s
    3. Applying WordArt styles
      2m 51s
  10. 16m 33s
    1. Formatting lines and borders
      4m 24s
    2. Filling an area with a color gradient
      2m 7s
    3. Specifying line style, color, and weight
      2m 46s
    4. Working with chart text
      3m 40s
    5. Changing the rotation of chart text
      3m 36s
  11. 38m 39s
    1. Using column and bar charts
      7m 24s
    2. Using line charts
      5m 46s
    3. Using pie charts
      8m 37s
    4. Using area, stock, and XY charts
      9m 3s
    5. Using doughnut, bubble, and radar charts
      7m 49s
  12. 10m 55s
    1. Pasting new data into a chart
      2m 58s
    2. Creating charts from multiple data sources
      3m 39s
    3. Adding new data using a table
      4m 18s
  13. 6m 19s
    1. Printing charts
      6m 19s
  14. 19s
    1. Next steps
      19s

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Excel 2007: Charts in Depth
3h 36m Intermediate Jun 15, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Dennis Taylor shows how to analyze and communicate the value of data with charts in Excel. The course starts with the foundations: what the parts of a chart are, what the different types of charts are, and which charts work best for your data. The course then shows how to create a presentation-ready chart in minutes and offers dozens of in-depth tutorials on formatting and fine-tuning charts so they represent data clearly and accurately.

Topics include:
  • Identifying the plot area, chart area, gridlines, legends, and more
  • Selecting the right chart type
  • Creating charts instantly with shortcuts
  • Choosing a layout
  • Dealing with empty and hidden cells
  • Switching rows and columns for a different view of the data
  • Moving and resizing a chart
  • Inserting pictures and shapes
  • Adding labels to a chart
  • Analyzing existing and future data with trendlines
  • Changing a chart's data source
  • Printing charts
Subjects:
Business Charts + Graphs
Software:
Excel Office
Author:
Dennis Taylor

Adding error bars

To show values above and/or below points in a chart series, you can insert what are called vertical error bars. They can be based on percentages or fixed values or even standard deviation calculations. And these work in line charts. We are probably more likely to see them here, but they also work in column and bar charts, also in scatter charts and bubble charts, but no other types. So in the lower chart here--and I think you'll find that these tend to work better when you are working only with the single series, although you can use multiple series.

In this lower chart, let's insert some error bars, so the chart has been selected. Then in the Layout tab in the Ribbon, in the Analysis Group, choose Error Bars, and you'll see some options here. Error Bars with Standard Deviation. Now of course, we'd have to know something about standard deviation to know what this really means here, but the bars that we see, and they are the same all the way across, represent the standard deviation of this series. So the January point is outside the lower standard deviation, and the June entry is above the upper range of the standard deviation.

You see what's happening in the other entries as well. Now that may not be what you need, so we could go back to Error Bars and possibly choose None, or maybe choose a different option here. Error Bars with percentage displays error bars for the selected chart series with 5% value, and we see what's happening there. Now that's awfully tight, and you can barely see it. So possibly what we might want to do here is change that to a different percent. It all depends upon your needs. Let's go back to the Error Bars and choose More Error Bar Options.

This dialog box pops up, and we see, based on we just chose here, that the percentage is 5%. Let's click this button and maybe what we would like to see here are error bars that are 25%, 20%, whatever makes sense to you. Change that to 2 there, and just by clicking somewhere else, maybe up here, changing these, and go in the other direction, we immediately see what's happening. We could have also chosen Close here as well. So we might want to experiment with these numbers a little bit. So the entries that we are about to see--and they look little strange because they are currently selected-- we now have a vertical bar here with a top and bottom, and notice it says Cap or No Cap-- you can get rid of those if you wish. And do we want these to go in both directions or maybe just above? I am going to click Plus, and now they're just above the line--we see them here-- or Minus just below, or possibly both.

So at different times you have the need to show these. As I click Close here, we will see these Error Bars. And I have to click outside of it too. So in each case--and the reason it's lower here under January is is that we've got a 25% value above this entry and then below it. Now some people like to actually connect these lines here, and what you have to do in cases like that is write formulas, and these are already written. So in cell B10, for example, right here, this equal be 5 times .75, this represents the lower value.

So it represents the bottom of this line that we were seeing for January. So by writing the formulas here--and this is the one for the lower entry and here is for the upper entry. This is 25% above the 80. So that's going to be actually 100. See how that's matching up here. If we want to show these values here in this chart as well, that in effect will connect these points. We can simply copy these values. I'll press Ctrl+C here, and then on the chart, right-click and Paste, and they go right into the chart to match up with those.

I wouldn't call that a necessity, but sometimes you do want to do that as well. So after connecting these lines, you may want to try some other options here. Under the Error Bars capability, it's on the Layout tab, and we can explore some other options here or also go to More Error Bars Options. Inserting Error Bars in a series might be used to convey uncertainty or an amount associated with each point in the data series as you choose.

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