How to Get Standard Deviation Lines in Excel for Mac


Standard deviation lines can make your graphs a more powerful visual tool, helping you communicate the spread of data at each point on the chart. This allows your chart's readers to gauge confidence in future statistical events. For example, a financial chart with low standard deviation might help to prove to potential investors that a given organization has a steady month-on-month income, and therefore represents a low risk. The Chart Layout function in Excel for Mac enables you to add standard deviation bars to your graphs without performing a separate calculation.

  • Create a chart using Excel's "Chart" menu.

  • Click on the chart to select it and then click on the “Chart Layout” tab.

  • Click on the arrow next to the “Error Bars” menu option and select “Error Bars With Standard Deviation.” This will add standard deviation lines for each data point in your chart.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can configure individual error bars to display specific values by selecting the bar you want to edit, clicking on “Error Bars Options” from the “Error Bars” menu and then editing the contents of the “Positive Error Value” and “Negative Error Value” fields.
  • Excel error bars can only be used with 2-D bubble, scatter bar, line, column and area charts.
  • Information in this article applies to Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

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  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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