How to Create an Excel Histogram for Normal Distribution



An Excel histogram for normal distribution is a graphical representation of a normal distribution of data. It is used to illustrate the frequency of each numerical data point in a set of data. It is a very powerful tool for understanding and interpreting data.

In this tutorial, we’ll look at how to create an Excel histogram for a normal distribution:

What is a Histogram?

A histogram is a graphical representation of data that displays numerical frequencies of values in ordered columns. It is an excellent way to visualize the distribution of a dataset and identify any potential outliers. With Microsoft Excel, you can easily create a histogram for normal distribution to analyze and summarize your data.

A normal distribution is one where the area under the graph has uniform density such that most values occur around the mean, with progressively less frequent results as you move away from it. It often follows a bell-shaped curve, also known as the Gaussian Distribution. This type of distribution is commonly seen when plotting groups of measurements such as heights and weights in natural populations, or measures taken over time that follow typical patterns like hourly temperatures or stock prices.

In order to create an accurate histogram for normal distribution using Excel, it’s important to understand how the program works and what features are available. Excel allows you to customize bins (the range within which a value falls) and bar widths, as well as add labels and legends if desired. Additionally, there are several options for formatting your graph such as line styles, color selection, and plotting type (area or line). With these tools at your disposal, you can generate an effective visual representation of your data quickly and easily.

What is Normal Distribution?

Normal distribution is a type of probability distribution that occurs naturally in many situations. It is a symmetrical bell-shaped curve that is centered at 0 and rises steadily as you move away from 0 in either direction and tapers off at the two extremes. A normal distribution has most of its data points clustered around the center, with fewer data points gradually occurring further out toward either tail. This type of pattern is seen in many areas such as language, economics, biology and health, among others.

In an Excel histogram for normal distribution, the number of data points on each side of the center point are equal or almost equal depending on the specific characteristics of your dataset. This type of chart allows you to visualize how closely your dataset follows a normal probability curve represented by an average value that changes from one group to another in relation to each other. By creating a histogram for normal distribution within Excel, you can:

  • Compare different datasets
  • Answer questions about their differences relative to one another
  • Answer questions about their similarities with regard to the overall pattern found within a given sample population.

Setting Up Excel

One of the most powerful features of Excel is the ability to make a histogram to illustrate normal distribution. In order to create a histogram, you will need to set up your Excel worksheet and the data you want to represent. In this article, we will be going over the steps to set up the worksheet and get your data ready so that you can create a histogram in Excel.

Open Excel

Before you can start creating an Excel histogram, you must first open the program. To do this on a Windows operating system, click on Start; type Excel in the search bar; then select Microsoft Excel from the list. You can also launch the program from your desktop or from its icon in the programs folder. On Mac computers, go to your Applications folder, then double-click on Microsoft Office and open Excel.

Once the program opens, you’ll be looking at a blank spreadsheet containing columns with letters across the top and rows with numbers along side them – this is known as a worksheet. For more information about basic features and functions in Excel, please refer to Microsoft’s help documentation.

Enter Data

Once you have your data, it is time to enter it into Excel. Go to the Data tab and select the “Text to Columns” option. This will open the wizard allowing you to format and manipulate your data before it is entered into the spreadsheet. Select the “Delimited” option, which will separate all of your data into tokens separated by any kind of breaks in the text (e.g., commas or tabs). Once you have chosen that option, click Next.

On the following screen, make sure that only Comma is checked in column delimiters – this will ensure that all of your entries are separated into individual parts as intended. Click Finish after you’re done making changes here.

The histogram excel chart requires that each value for every row be stored in a single cell within its own column – if necessary, cut and paste your data from one column to a neighboring one so that all of them appear on separate columns. You may also need to delete cells if they contain no relevant data or combine cells with duplicate labels into a single cell with an appropriate label before moving on to creating graphic charts with Excel’s graphing capabilities.

Set up the Data Range

The beginning stages of setting up an Excel histogram requires the user to set up the data range. To do this, begin by indicating the cells that contain the data that should be included in the histogram. Note that a continuous data range must be used, meaning there should not be any gaps of missing data within the range. To input this into Excel, one can use a standard cell notation with two cell references specifying the beginning and ending cell of your range separated by a colon (e.g. A1:G20). Once this is done, click on another empty cell and type “=histogram” followed by entering your previously specified data range in parentheses (e.g =histogram(A1:G20)).

The next step is to provide suitable bin numbers which will determine how many bars are included in your histogram.

Creating the Histogram

Excel histograms are used to visualize the distribution of data. To create a histogram in Excel, you first need to calculate the frequency density of the data set. This can be done by dividing the number of values within a bin by the total number of data points. To create the histogram, you will then need to use the data to build the bars.

In this article, we will take a look at how to create a histogram for normal distributions in Excel.

Select the Data Range

To begin creating a histogram using Microsoft Excel, first you must select the range of data for which you want to form the histogram. To do this, identify the data set that you would like to use and highlight that set of data in the sheet.

Examine whether there are any outliers (values that are substantially higher or lower than expected) in your data set. If so, consider removing them to create a more meaningful histogram, as these outliers can influence your results.

Additionally, keep in mind that if some of your cells are blank or contain text entries, they will not be accounted for when creating the histogram – so it is best practice to double-check for those before attempting to create one.

Select the Histogram Chart

In order to create a histogram illustrating normal distribution in Excel, you first need to select the histogram chart. Open a new spreadsheet and type in the data you want to visualize. Highlight the data by clicking on it and select “Insert.” From there, choose the “Charts” tab and select the histogram chart from the list of “Chart Types.”

This will display two options related to Histograms: “1-Histogram” and “2-Historgram(Clustered)”. Select either type depending on whether you want single or clustered bars representing each data point in your graph. If selecting 1-Histogram, choose an optional gap width for between bars within clusters if desired. Click “Ok” once all selections have been made, and your graph will appear with a representation of normal distribution based on your data.

Set the Bin Size

To create a histogram in Excel, you’ll first need to define a bin size. This is the range (in the example from above, it would be 1-2, 3-4, etc…) that you want the histogram to use for comparison. You will need to enter this information for each bin before you can generate your histogram. To set the bin size correctly and ensure accuracy in your results:

  1. Set the bin size range for each of the columns in your data set. Generally speaking, you should use 2-3 times as many bins as values in your data set to ensure that each group of values is represented equally (for example, if your data set consists of 20 values then you should aim for 6-7 bins).
  2. Make sure there are no over or under lapping of intervals when setting up your equations; otherwise errors might be produced and inaccuracies could result.
  3. Also, consider setting boundaries at certain points such as at zero or other relevant numbers; this will provide an easier way to read the chart later and make it easier for people to interpret it correctly at a glance.

Once you have defined and entered all of the parameters needed by Excel to generate the histogram based on normal distribution properly, click “OK” and then proceed with creating your chart by selecting “Chart Wizard” from Excel’s “Insert” menu.

Formatting the Histogram

When it comes to creating a histogram for normal distribution in Excel, you will need to pay careful attention to how you format the data. This includes setting the labels, setting the range and intervals, and choosing the right colors. With these formatting steps, you can create a beautiful, accurate histogram that displays your data in a meaningful way. Let’s look more closely at how to format the histogram in Excel:

  • Setting the labels
  • Setting the range and intervals
  • Choosing the right colors

Adjust the Chart Axes

The next step in formatting your histogram is to adjust the chart axes. This is important, as having the correct data scale will ensure that your bar chart accurately reflects the underlying data. For example, if the values in an array are between 0 and 100, you would expect each bar of the histogram to represent an interval of 10 (4 bars for 40–50, 50–60, etc.).

To adjust the chart axes for this data set, select “Axes” from Excel’s Chart Design tab or Chart Elements menu. Use the tabs in this dialog box to set up your primary vertical axis as a Number/Category type with a Minimum of 0 and a Maximum of 100. Note that these settings may need to be adjusted depending on your data set.

Next, select “Gridlines” from either Excel’s Chart Design tab or Chart Elements menu. From there, you can use the Major Gridline Spacing settings to define how many gridlines appear on your chart’s vertical and horizontal axes. For intervals of 10 (as in our example), this should be set at 10; for 5 intervals (such as 25-30) it should be set at 5.

After making all other desired changes with regard to chart design or text formatting – you have now created a functional histogram for normal distribution!

Add Labels and Titles

Once your data is input and your bins are established, it’s time to add labels and titles. This will help you make sense of the histogram and allow you to interpret it more easily.

Start by adding a title. This should explain what the histogram is showing in one line or less – for example “U.S. Family Income Distribution” or “Distribution of Test Scores”. An axis label can then be added for each axis: typically, this would show the measurement being used (e.g., “Income” or “Score”). The appropriate units should also be indicated with brackets, as in “Score [%]”, “Income [$]”.

The axes should then be labeled with descriptive text that explains what the graph is showing (e.g., “Frequency” for x-axis). Note that you can adjust the scales on either axis to best fit your data points together – this may require some trial and error until it looks right! The origin (zero point) of each axis should also be labeled to help people understand where their data points are located relative to each other – typically this would simply say “0“.

You may choose to add a legend, which explains any symbols or lines you have used on the graph. Your histogram is now complete – if needed, copy and paste into a document or presentation to share with colleagues!

Change the Chart Colors

In order to change the colors of your histogram, double click on any column bar. A ‘Format Data Series’ box will open on the right side of your screen. From here, click on “Fill” on the left side and then select either a gradient or solid fill for the bars. You can also adjust the color and transparency level.

To adjust the gridlines, you can also make changes from this box or from the Layout tab under Chart Tools. Lastly, don’t forget to enter titles directly onto your chart or into Layout in Chart Tools. This will help explain your histogram to viewers who have not seen it before.


By creating a histogram chart in Microsoft Excel, users of any skill level can produce a visual representation of their data’s distribution. Such histograms are capable of plotting data along the x-axis and displaying the corresponding frequency or count on the y-axis. Excel allows users to further customize their graph with various formatting options available, as well as to add trend lines or labels to explain the graph data.

By combining this good practice with analysis techniques and simple formulas, it’s possible for users to visualize how close their data is to normal distribution. After fitting and plotting a curve, it can be determined whether the results follow a bell-shaped pattern and if any variables may be influencing the data away from the ideal normal distribution. Knowing if variance from the normal pattern exists allows users to make more informed decisions about their data interpretation and analysis.