Excel bar chart function: Creating a default column chart


Your company’s product sales are summarized in an Excel table. Anticipating that a chart would significantly contribute to understanding this data, you want to create a column chart to graphically depict the sales data. Excel bar chart function can help you.

In this learning module, you will be shown how to create a standard column chart using default settings.


Charts enable you to represent your data visually. With the excel bar chart function, you can generate a column chart very quickly using default settings.

To create a column chart, you must first select the cell range that is to be depicted as a chart. Be sure to include row and column headings because they will be used as chart labels.

Now, to create the corresponding default chart, simply press the [F11] key .

Using default settings, Excel immediately creates a column chart on a separate worksheet. The new worksheeet is inserted just to the left of the worksheet containing the underlying table:

The chart consists of the following elements:

Closely associated data appear as identically colored columns.

Units on the y-axis are automatically generated from the underlying numerical values.

X-axis labels are automatically generated from the table’s row headings.

The legend shows the colors that were assigned to the individual data columns. Captions are taken from column headings.

The plot area is the area that surrounds the actual chart.

The area encompassing all chart elements is called chart area.

Now you should rename the new worksheet’s tab. To do this, double-click directly on the Chart1 tab:

Type in a new name. Conclude by presssing [Enter].

Alternatively, you can create a column chart with default settings on the same worksheet as the table. First, select the data of interest:

Then press the [Alt]+[F1] key combination. Excel bar chart function will generate a chart on the same worksheet:

CAUTION when using excel bar chart function:

Charts are linked to their underlying data. That means, if you change any values in a table, its chart will automatically adjust to accommodate such changes.


Excel bar chart function: HINT

You can delete a chart any time you like. If you inserted the chart as a separate worksheet, you can delete it using the context menu, i.e., right-click on the worksheet’s tab and click the Delete command. If you added the chart as an object on the same worksheet, click the frame that surrounds the chart area, and then press the [Del] or [Delete] key.

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