A histogram chart displays the count of items grouped into bins using columns. Starting in Excel 2016, the histogram chart is a built-in option. In this worksheet, I’ve got a list of 100 names and ages. Let’s plot this data in a histogram chart. To start out, select a cell in the data. If you have a lot of data, there’s a good chance you’ll find a histogram option in Recommended charts. If you don’t see it there, you can insert a histogram chart manually using the small Statistics Chart icon to the left of recommended charts. When you select the chart, Excel will build a histogram chart automatically. In some respects, the chart is a similar to a regular column chart. The vertical axes is a value axis, with a set of standard options. However, there are limited options for formatting columns. By default, the gap width is set to zero, but you can override this setting. You can also select and format individual columns manually. You’ll find most options for a histogram chart in the horizontal axis settings of the format task pane. Under Bins, you’ll see the default setting is Automatic. You’ll see greyed-out values for both bin width and bin count. These will match what you see in the chart. Here, bin size has has been set to 12, and there are 6 bins total. You can manually adjust these settings. If I enter 10 for bin width, Excel re-plots the data using 7 bins, each with a width of 10 years. You can also manually set overflow and underflow bins. If I set the overflow to 61 and the underflow to 21, and Excel re-plots the chart, dropping one column. You can easily display the number of items in each bin with data labels. Just turn these on using the Chart Elements menu. While I’m here, I’ll also remove the gridlines to reduce clutter. Histogram charts use a newer chart engine in Excel, and they still have some limitations. For example, I can’t set the chart title with a formula. All I get is an equal sign. In this case, I’ll use copy and paste, using the formula bar to avoid bringing in formatting.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.