Creating a Histogram in Excel

Fundamentals of Social Statistics by Adam J. McKee

First, you will need to create a frequency table that lists the category headings, and a corresponding column that contains the frequencies for each category.  For example, let us say a political scientist is interested in political party preferences for a local election.

Figure 9: Frequency Tables in Excel.
Figure 9: Frequency Tables in Excel.

Next, you will highlight both the labels and the frequencies.  Under the Insert tab, find charts and select column.  For a traditional look, select the simple two-dimensional chart listed first.  Once the graph is generated, you can right-click on it and edit the legend.

Figure 10: Histograms in Excel.
Figure 10: Histograms in Excel.

Once you have your chart formatted as you want it, you can right-click on it, select copy, and then paste it into a word document.  This is how you would present your chart in a research report.

Note that pie charts can be used to illustrate similar data to bar charts.  When the number of levels of the variable is small, pie charts may work just as well or better in getting your information across.  In other words, you can use a pie chart with quantitative or qualitative data to show the distribution of the data among different categories. For example, suppose that Bob is a raving fan of Community Coffee and starts a café based on selling their products.  He wants to analyze the café’s sales by coffee style. The styles that Bob sells are French Roast, Breakfast Blend, Dark Roast, and Café Special.  By creating a pie chart, Bob can show potential investors what styles are being sold, and what proportion of sales each makes up at the same time.

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Last Modified:  06/03/2021


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