How to Create a Floating Bar Chart in Microsoft Excel 2003


Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program in the MS Office suite that is used to collect and analyze data. One aspect of the data analysis this program can perform is the automatic creation of graphs to see how various sets of data relate to each other. MS Excel has many standard graphs that can be selected depending on the relationships you want to show. However, the program does not automatically give you the option to create a floating bar graph normally used to show a range of data in a graph with minimum values of above zero. Luckily, if you are willing to add a couple of extra steps into the graph-making process, Excel will allow you to create the floating bar graph you need.

Things You'll Need

  • Two sets of data in spreadsheet form
  • Set up your spreadsheet data with at least two rows of data. One of the rows of data will be what you actually want to show in the graph, and the other data set needs to have values that are less than the data set you want to show.

  • Highlight the data set. Click on the "Insert" menu at the top of the screen, and then click on "Chart" to bring up the chart options.

  • Click on the "Bar" option from the list of chart type options on the left-hand side to bring up all of the bar chart options. Click on the "Stacked Bar Chart" option, click "Next" twice, and then click "Finish" to build chart in the spreadsheeet.

  • Click on the lower series of data in the chart to select it. Right-click, and click on the "Format Series" command to bring up the Series options window.

  • Click on the "Patterns" tab. Select "None" under Border and Area, and Click "OK." The upper series should be the only part showing on your graph, and it should be "floating" above the axis.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the Chart Wizard to set the size of the graph, the colors of the graph, the axis limits and any labeling you may need to do. You can customize the graphs anyway you want.
  • This is the only way to create this graph. You must make sure your second set of data is less than the data you need to show so the graph reads correctly.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
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