How to add deviations into your chart

Excel 2016 2013 2010 2007 2003
Sometimes you can give your charts a more impressive view by showing deviations of some real process from its expected flow.
Deviations in the chart 365

To create a chart with deviations, do the following:

   1.   Select the data range (in this example, B2:D9):

Using deviations in charts in Excel 365

Note: Cells E3:E9 contains the formula Fact - Plan.

   2.   On the Insert tab, in the Charts group, choose the Insert Line or Area Chart button:

Line charts in Excel 365

Choose Line:

Line chart in Excel 365

   3.   Do one of the following:

  • On the Chart Design tab, in the Data group, choose Select Data:
    Select Data in Excel 365
  • Right-click in the chart area and choose Select Data... in the popup menu:
    Select Data in popup menu Excel 365

   4.   In the Select Data Source dialog box, select data for series and for horizontal (category) axis:

Select Data Source in Excel 365

   5.   Select the data series to which you want to add deviations, then do one of the following:

  • Click on the Chart Elements button, select the Error Bars list, then choose More Options...:
    Chart Elements - Error Bars in Excel 365
  • On the Chart Design tab, in the Chart Layouts group, click the Add Chart Element drop-down list:
    Add Chart Element button in Excel 365

    In the Add Chart Element drop-down list, choose the Error Bars list, then click More Error Bars Options...:

    More Error Bars Options in Excel 365

   6.   On the Format Error Bars pane:

  • On the Error Bars Options tab, in the Vertical Error Bar section, choose:
    Format Error Bars in Excel 365
    • In the Direction group, choose the Plus option - to show the actual data point value plus a specific error amount.
    • In the End Style group, choose the No Cap option - to display error bars without end caps.
    • In the Error Amount group, the Custom option, and then click the Specify Value to use values in a spreadsheet range that you specify as deviations (in this example E3:E9):
      Error Bars range in Excel 365
  • On the Fill & Line tab, in the Line section, change the Width of line, and select arrow settings:
    Format Error Bars line in Excel 365

You can then make any other adjustments to get the look you desire.

See also this tip in French: Comment ajoutez des écarts dans votre graphique.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.

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