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How to add error bars in Excel

Give your data some flexibility with error bars.
March 1, 2023

If you use Excel to create charts, it’s always good to know what customization options you have for your data entries. Excel allows you to display all sorts of data and possible variations. Error bars can aid you in displaying margins of error or standard deviations within your data. Let’s go over how to add error bars in Excel.


To add error bars in Excel, click on your chart or graph in Excel. Click Chart Elements > Error Bars.

How to add error bars in Excel

Using the data in your Excel spreadsheet, create a chart. Click the chart, then click the Chart Elements (+) button to its right.

chart elements button
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A selection of chart elements will appear in a smaller menu. From the options available, click Error Bars.

If you click the arrow to its right, an extended menu will reveal Standard ErrorPercentageStandard Deviation, and More Options…. You can use these to further customize your error bars.

error bars excel
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When finished, your chart will display error bars on your data points.

error bars in a chart excel
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Typically, for charts and graphs, error bars will appear as an option from the Chart Elements extended menu. However, if it doesn’t appear, there’s a chance you’re working with a 3D chart. These don’t allow you to add error bars.