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.

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