Catalog

How to Add Error Bars in Google Sheets - A Step-By-Step Guide

November 27, 2023 725 views

Unlock the power of precision in your data presentations with our step-by-step guide on adding error bars in Google Sheets. Dive into the world of insightful visualizations and elevate your charts to new levels of accuracy. This comprehensive tutorial is your key to mastering the art of error bars, making your data not just informative but visually impactful. Let's transform your spreadsheets into compelling stories of precision and clarity.

Part 1: What are Error Bars in Google Sheets?

Google Sheets logo.

Error bars in Google Sheets are graphical representations of the variability of data in a chart. They provide a visual indication of the uncertainty or margin of error associated with the data points. Error bars can be added to various types of charts, including bar charts, line charts, and scatter plots.

There are three main types of error bars in Google Sheets:

  • Standard Error: Standard error is a measure of the variability of the mean of a sample. It represents the likely range of values that the true mean of the population would fall within, given repeated sampling. Standard error bars are typically used to represent the margin of error associated with sample means.

Standard Error Bar in Google Sheet.

  • Percentage: Percentage error bars represent a fixed percentage of the value of each data point. They are useful for comparing the variability of data points with different magnitudes. For instance, a percentage error bar of 10% would represent a margin of error of 10% for a data point with a value of 100 and a margin of error of 10 cents for a data point with a value of $1.

Percentage Error Bar.

  • Standard Deviation: Standard deviation is a measure of the variability of a set of data. It represents the average distance of each data point from the mean. Standard deviation error bars are typically used to represent the spread of data around the mean.

Standard Deviation Error in Google Sheet.

Error bars are a valuable tool for visually communicating the uncertainty associated with data in Google Sheets. They help users interpret data more accurately and draw more informed conclusions.

Part 2: Easy Steps to Add Error Bars in Google Sheets

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to add error bars to a column chart in Google Sheets:

Step 1: Select the data you want to add error bars to.

Step 2: Click on the Chart tab.

Step 3: Click on the Insert chart button.

Select Chart button.

Step 4: Select the type of chart you want to create. For this example, we will create a column chart.

Step 5: Click on the Customize tab.

Select Customize tab.

Step 6: Under the Error bars section, select the type of error bar you want to add. You can choose from percentage, constant, or standard deviation.

Select the type of error bar.

Step 7: Click on the Apply button.

Example: Let's say we want to add error bars to a column chart that shows the sales for a company over the past five years. The data for the chart is as follows:

Example data.

To add error bars to this chart, we would follow these steps:

Step 1: Select the data for the chart (A2:A6).

Step 2: Click on the Chart tab.

Select Chart button.

Step 3: Click on the Column Chart button.

Step 4: Click on the Customize tab.

Select Customize tab.

Step 5: Under the Error Bars section, select the Standard Deviation option.

Step 6: Click on the Apply button.

The chart will now be updated to include error bars. The error bars will show the range of possible values for each data point.

Here are some additional tips on how to add error bars in Google Sheets:

  • You can add error bars to multiple data series at once.

  • You can customize the appearance of the error bars, such as the color and thickness of the lines.

  • You can add error bars to other types of charts, such as line charts and scatter plots.

Part 3: Best Free Alternative to Google Sheets - WPS Spreadsheet

WPS Office logo.

WPS Spreadsheet is a free and versatile spreadsheet application that is compatible with a wide range of devices and file formats. It is a great option for users who are looking for a powerful and affordable alternative to Microsoft Excel.

Features of WPS Spreadsheet:

  • Fully compatible with Microsoft Excel: WPS Spreadsheet can open, edit, and save Microsoft Excel files without any loss of formatting or data.

  • Support for a variety of file formats: WPS Spreadsheet supports a wide range of file formats, including .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlt, and .csv.

  • Cross-platform compatibility: WPS Spreadsheet is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS logo.

  • Cloud integration: WPS Spreadsheet can be used to edit and collaborate on online documents.

  • Lightweight and fast: WPS Spreadsheet is a lightweight and fast application that can run on even older computers.

  • Safe and stable: WPS Spreadsheet is a safe and stable application that is regularly updated with security patches.

Users who would benefit from using WPS Spreadsheet:

  • Students: WPS Spreadsheet is a great option for students who are looking for a free and easy-to-use spreadsheet application.

  • Home users: WPS Spreadsheet is a great option for home users who need a spreadsheet application for basic tasks.

  • Small businesses: WPS Spreadsheet is a great option for small businesses that are looking for an affordable alternative to Microsoft Excel.

I have been using WPS Spreadsheet for several years and I have been very impressed with its features and performance. It is a powerful and versatile application that is a great alternative to Microsoft Excel. I highly recommend WPS Spreadsheet to anyone who is looking for a free and affordable spreadsheet application.

WPS Spreadsheet example.

Overall, WPS Spreadsheet is a great option for users who are looking for a powerful, affordable, and easy-to-use spreadsheet application.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to download and install WPS Office:

Downloading WPS Office

Step 1: Go to the WPS Office website: https://www.wps.com/

Open WPS Office website.

Step 2: Click on the Download button.

Select Download button.

Step 3: Select the operating system you are using: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, or iOS.

Step 4: Click on the Download button again.

Step 5: Once the download is complete,

Adding Error Bars in WPS Spreadsheet:

Step 1: Open the spreadsheet that contains the data you want to add error bars to.

Select data you want to add error bars.

Step 2: Select the data points you want to add error bars to.

Step 3: Click on the Chart tab.

Step 4: Click on the Insert Chart button.

Select Chart button

Step 5: Select the type of chart you want to create.

Select chart you want to create.

Step 6: Click on the Customize tab.

Step 7: Under the Error Bars section, select the type of error bar you want to add.

Select the type of error bar you want to add

Step 8: Click on the Apply button.

Trustpilotstars4.8
WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Edit PDF files with the powerful PDF toolkit.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

5,820,008 User
avator
Algirdas Jasaitis
logo

FAQS:

Can I add error bars to any type of chart in Google Sheets?

Yes, you can add error bars to any type of chart in Google Sheets and it is useful for visualizing the uncertainty in your data.

Here are the steps on how to add error bars to a chart in Google Sheets:

Step 1: Select the data you want to add error bars to.

Step 2: Click on the Chart tab.

Select Chart button.

Step 3: Click on the Insert chart button.

Step 4: Select the type of chart you want to create.

Step 5: Click on the Customize tab.

Step 6: Under the Error bars section, select the type of error bar you want to add. You can choose from percentage, constant, or standard deviation.

Step 7: Click on the Apply button.

What is the difference between standard error, percentage, and standard deviation error bars?

  1. Standard error: Represents the likely range of values for the true mean of the population.

  2. Percentage: Represents a fixed percentage of the value of each data point.

  3. Standard deviation: Represents the average distance of each data point from the mean.

    How can I customize the appearance of the error bars?

You can customize the appearance of the error bars in a few ways, including:

  • Color: You can change the color of the error bars to match the color of the data series or to make them stand out more.

  • Thickness: You can change the thickness of the error bars to make them more or less visible.

  • Line style: You can change the line style of the error bars to solid, dotted, or dashed.

  • Cap size: You can change the cap size of the error bars to make them larger or smaller.

  • Error bar position: You can change the position of the error bars to show them above, below, or both above and below the data points.

Summary

This guide offers a step-by-step tutorial for adding error bars in Google Sheets, covering Standard Error, Percentage, and Standard Deviation types. Emphasizing customization and universal chart applicability, it provides additional tips and introduces WPS Spreadsheet as a free and user-friendly alternative to Microsoft Excel, backed by personal endorsement.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.