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Excel Problems with error bars

  1. Feb 11, 2013 #1


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    I have a graph which I would like to add Y error bars to. When I click to add the error bars, it only allows me to add horizontal bars. This is very strange because the other graph I have, it allowed me to insert vertical bars.

    Basically when I click on exactly the same menu to insert error bars, on one graph it takes me directly to vertical error bars and on the other graph it only allows me horizontal bars. I have for the last twenty mins been trying to get vertical bars on the menu that gives me horizontal bars. I don't know what else to try. I googled my problem but it just says click on 'More error bars options', but this is what I do by default.

    It is if Excel is 'deciding' what error bars to give me.

    Can anyone help?

    EDIT: This is silly, now when I click on another graph I have created, I have vertical bars as my default... Vertical bars as default on two graphs, horizontal on the other - this makes no sense.

    Many thanks.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2013 #2


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    Do you have a different type of diagram where you cannot add those error bars?
  4. Feb 11, 2013 #3


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    With X-Y (Scatter) graphs in Excel, I've never had trouble adding either horizontal or vertical error bars. What type of graphs are you using? Are they all the same type?
  5. Feb 11, 2013 #4


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    Yes, they are X Y scatter graphs. I click on the graph and then go the menu at the top of the page and click 'Error Bars'. Then I choose the option 'More options for Error bars'. On two of the three graphs (they are all the same, the only dissimilarity being the data) I can have vertical bars but on the third only horizontal. How did you manage to choose what ones you wanted?
  6. Feb 11, 2013 #5


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    I managed to get the vertical errors eventually by playing about with it some more. I have another question though. I have noticed that some of my error bars are very large in comparison to some of the others (as much as 30 times). I want to delete these data points from the graph. Is there a way to delete data points individually?

    If not, I want to delete their entries in my table of data (I'll keep all raw data someplace else). How can I do this without messing things up (I have inserted formula so by deleting, it confuses Excel).
  7. Feb 17, 2013 #6


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    One way is to create additional columns that have the same data values, and in those columns delete the points you don't want included on the graph. Then you still preserve the original data, in case you change your mind about displaying it.

    Or, you can use the "IF" function in the new column; if the error bar is greater than some cutoff value, then set the cell value to "" (i.e., a blank cell); otherwise the cell value is the data value from the original data column.

    For example, if column D is to be the data that you want on the graph, then cell D3 could say


    where column B has the original data, column C has the error values, and cell E1 has the error bar cutoff value.
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