How to Create an 8 Column Chart in Excel

Creating charts and graphs in Excel is easy once you know the basic steps

Image of people creating charts and graphs

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In this guide you'll learn how easy it is to create an 8 column chart in Excel. You'll learn how to start with an Excel worksheet filled with data and end up with a bar chart that shows that same information in an easy-to-understand format.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010.

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Create an 8 Column Chart in Excel 2016 and 2013

Screenshot of selecting data in Excel 2016/2013

The only data you need in an Excel worksheet to create an 8 column chart are two columns that contain 8 data points. An example of this might be a list of 8 sales staff and their associated sales totals for the current year.

To create a chart that contains the sales totals by name, first highlight the cells from both columns that contain data (including headers), and follow the steps below.

  1. Select Insert.
  2. Select Insert Column or Bar Chart to open a drop-down list.
  3. Choose a 2-D Column chart.

This inserts an 8 column, 2-D chart into your worksheet. Select the chart and drag the resize handles to change the size of the chart. Or, drag the chart to move it to a different location in your worksheet.

The chart wizard was removed from Excel starting with version 2007. It has been replaced with the charting options in the ribbon as described above. While the column icons look slightly different in Excel 2013 vs. Excel 2016 (icons are greyscale in 2013), the procedure above works the same.

If you have multiple columns of data, such as the year of sales and dollar value of sales shown in the example above, you can change which bar represents each series of data.

To do this:

  1. Right-click on either column in the column chart
  2. Select Select Data to open the Select Data Source dialog box.

From the Select Data Source dialog box, you can change how that bar represents the data in your worksheet in various ways.

  • Select Add to add a new series of data (which will add a new column to your chart).
  • Select Edit to change the data that each column in your bar chart represents.
  • Select Remove to remove any column in your chart.
  • Choose any Series and select the blue up or down arrows to change the order those columns display in your chart.
A screenshot of changing chart formatting in Excel 2016/2013

Format the Column Chart
You can change the way your column chart looks by setting number formatting for the axis values, changing the chart title, or changing bar colors.

  • Change chart title: Double-click the title and type the new text.
  • Change axis number formatting: Right-click on the axis, select Format Axis, expand Number, and choose a number format from the Category drop-down list.
  • Change bar color: Right-click on any bar, select Fill to open a drop-down list, and choose any color you'd like for that series.

Almost any element of a column chart can be formatted. Right-click a chart element and choose Format.

If you want to dig deeper into creating more complex graphs or charts in Excel 2013, make sure to read the Excel 2013 bar graph/column chart tutorial.

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Create an 8 Column Chart in Excel 2010

The procedure for creating a bar chart in Excel 2010 is similar to later versions, but there are some slight differences.

You'll start with the same two columns of data containing 8 data sets. Select both columns (including headers).

  1. Select Insert.
  2. Select Column.
  3. Select the 2-D Column chart from drop-down menu.

This inserts an 8 column, 2-D chart into your worksheet.

When laying out your worksheet, list the names describing the data in one column and to the right of that, the data itself. If there is more than one data series, list them one after the other in columns with the title for each data series at the top (the header).

Format the Column Chart

You can change the way your column chart looks in Excel 2010 using the same steps as for Excel 2019, 2016 or 2013, but changing the color of the bars in your chart is slightly different.

  1. Right-click on the bar you want to change
  2. Select Format Data Series.
  3. Select Fill.
  4. Select the type of fill style you want to use in the chart.
  5. Choose a color from the Color drop-down list.

Selecting the bar data (series) for each bar in your graph works the same way as Excel 2019, 2016, and 2013, as described above.

If you'd like to learn more advanced techniques to insert and format graphs and charts in Excel 2010, read the Excel 2010/2007 bar graph/chart tutorial.