Histogram Chart in Excel – Insert, Format, Bins

In one of the recent blogs, we learned how a Clustered Column Chart works. A Histogram Chart in Excel is similar to read as a Column Chart but the usage and working of both charts are different. Let us see how.

What is a Histogram Chart in Excel?

A Histogram Chart in Excel represents the frequency distribution of data in intervals. It will let us know how many entities are there lying in each interval or bin. The intervals are contiguous and each interval has its upper and lower value in which the frequency lies. For instance, we have plotted a Histogram for the height of students in a class as shown below:-

example of a histogram chart in excel

Here the interval column with maximum bar is filled with red as the majority of students have their heights lying in between 160-170 cm which is 8 students.

Understanding the Intervals

The intervals have a lower value and an upper value. When an interval (other than the first) is plotted on the chart, it is shown on a horizontal axis like this:-


The first bracket ( is an open bracket which means that the lower value does not lie in that interval. So in the above example, a student with a height of 140 cm does not count in the interval (140,150]. It will fall under (130,140]

This is so because there is a ] close bracket for upper value and the upper value of an interval is included in it.

The First interval has both square brackets [130,140], so both the lower and upper values are included in it.

infographics Histogram Chart in Excel

Inserting a Histogram Chart in Excel

Let us say we have the salaries of different employees of a company as follows:-

inserting a histogram chart in excel raw data

The salary is in LPA ( Lakhs per Annum ). For inserting a Histogram Chart, run the following steps:-

  • Select the range of cells A1:A15
  • Click on the Insert tab on the Excel Ribbon.
  • From the Charts group, hit on Recommended Charts button.
  • In the All Charts tab, select the Histogram Chart from the list an the first chart type.
inserting a histogram chart in excel step 2

Consequently, this inserts a Histogram Chart with formatting as defaults. We need to format the chart to make it exactly like what we want it to be.

Adding Intervals to the Histogram Chart

The chart inserted in the above section has default formatting as follow:-

adding intervals in a histogram chart in excel

For changing these bins simply:-

  • Click on the chart and on the ribbon, find the Format tab.
  • In the Current Selection group, mark the Horizontal Axis.
  • Press ctrl+1.

This opens the Format Axis pane for the Horizontal Axis.

  • Navigate to the Axis Options tab.
  • Mark the Bin Width as 3.
  • Set the Overflow Bin as 10 ( It is the Upper Value of the Last Interval )
  • Set the Underflow Bin as 1 ( It is the Lower Value of the First Interval )
formatting the bins of Histogram chart in excel

You can see that the labels have updated themselves.

Formatting the Data Series of the Chart

We can change the Solid Fill color of these contiguous Vertical Bars. To do so:-

  • Double Click on the Blue Bars.
  • Navigate to Fill and Line tab in the Format Data Series pane.
  • Choose the Solid Fill color and the Border as Solid Line.
formatting the data series of a histogram chart in excel

We can remove the Chart Gridlines, making the chart easier to read. To remove the Gridlines, click on the + button at the top right corner of the chart and unmark the checkbox for Gridlines.

removing chart gridlines

Consequently, we have got the resultant chart.

Result of HIstogram Chart in Excel

Changing the Number Format of Axis Labels

Since the salary is in LPA, we can add this unit in the Horizontal Axis Category Labels. Double Click on the Horizontal Axis.

number format of axis labels in a chart in excel

Move to the Number Field in the Format Axis pane. Add the Format Code as General “LPA” and hit on the Add button. This formats the axis labels.

And here we have come to the end of the blog.

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