How to Make Bar Chart Bars Wider in Excel

How to make bar charts bars Wider in Excel

Bar charts are one of the most popular ways of visualizing data in Excel. However, the width of the bars in a bar chart can greatly impact the readability and effectiveness of the chart. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to make bar chart bars wider in Excel.

Understanding Bar Charts in Excel

A bar chart is a type of chart that displays data using rectangular bars. The length of each bar represents the value of a particular category.

There are two types of bar charts in Excel: vertical and horizontal axis. The elements of a bar chart include the axis labels, the legend, the bars themselves, and the data points.

The Importance of Bar Chart Bars Width

The width of the bars in a bar Excel chart is crucial to the readability of the chart. Narrow bars can make it difficult to distinguish between different categories, while wider bars can make the chart look cluttered. Important to find the right balance between the width of the bars and the number of categories on the chart.

Step-by-Step Guide: Making Bar Chart Bars Wider

Here are the steps to adjust the width of the bars in bar graphs in Excel:

Step 1: Selecting the chart to adjust

To adjust the width of the bars, you first need to select the data and chart style you want to modify.

Step 2: Accessing the format data series options

Next, you need to access the format data series options. Access the format data series options by right-clicking on a bar and select “Format Data Series” from the menu.

Step 3: Changing the width of the bars

You can adjust the width of the bars by changing the “Gap Width” option in the format data series settings. The higher the percentage, the wider the bars will be.

Step 4: Previewing and adjusting the bar width

After adjusting the bar width, preview the chart layout to ensure it meets your expectations. If the bars are still too narrow or too wide, you can go back and adjust the gap width again.

Adjusting the Width of Specific Bars in Excel

Sometimes, you may want to adjust the width of specific bars in a grouped bar graph. To adjust the width of an individual bar, select it and modify its gap width. However, it’s important to note that adjusting individual horizontal bars can make the chart look uneven and potentially confusing.

Tips for Widening Bar Chart Bars in Excel

Here are some tips for making sure your bar column chart bars are easy to read and visually appealing:

  • Make sure the chart is easy to read by using clear labels and a legible font size.
  • Use contrasting colors to make the verticals bars stand out from one another.
  • Stick to best practices for visualizing data in Excel, such as avoiding excessive use of 3D effects or shadows.

Avoiding Common Bar Chart Mistakes in Excel

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when creating bar charts group in Excel:

  • Overcomplicating the chart with too many categories or data points.
  • Forgetting to label the axes, which can make the chart difficult to interpret.
  • Using inaccurate or incomplete data, which can lead to misleading conclusions.

Advanced Techniques for Bar Chart Design in Excel

For those looking to take their vertical bar chart design to the next level, here are some advanced techniques to consider:

  • Using 3D charts for added visual impact.
  • Creating stacked bar charts to display more complex data sets.
  • Adding secondary axes to display multiple data sets on the same chart.


In conclusion, the width of bar chart bars can greatly impact the readability of your bar chart. By following the provided guide, adjusting the bar width in Excel is easy for anyone. To avoid mistakes, keep the types of graphs simple and label the axes correctly. Experiment with different chart designs to find the best fit for the data presented horizontally or vertically.

By using contrasting colors, avoiding clutter, and following best practices for visualizing data, anyone can create effective bar charts in Excel. With these helpful suggestions, you can improve your data visualization and create effective bar charts that clearly convey your message.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I adjust the width of individual bars in a bar chart?

No, you cannot adjust the width of individual bars in a bar chart. You can only adjust the width of all the bars in the chart at the same time.

What is the impact of narrow bars on the audience?

Narrow bars can confuse the audience as it becomes difficult for them to differentiate between different categories on the chart. This can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretation of the data.

What are some advanced techniques for designing bar charts?

Some advanced techniques for designing bar charts include:
– using color coding to emphasize certain data points
– adding trend lines to show the overall trend of the data
– using stacked or grouped bars to show multiple data sets in the same chart.
Other techniques include adding annotations or callouts to highlight specific data points and using a combination of different chart types. Such as a bar chart and a line chart, to show different aspects of the data.

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