Bar charts with a difference

We are used to bar charts. But do you know that we can add bar charts within cells? Have a look and see what you were missing all this while! (These have been there for 8 years).


Want to know more?

Apply data bars first and then go to Conditional Formatting – Manage Rules – Edit Rule.


  1. In some cases, there is no need to show the values. Use Show Bar Only to simplify the visual clutter – especially useful if you want to show it in PowerPoint.
  2. Remember that the min and max values are customizable. For example, if you are working in a situation where the max value cannot be more than 50, change the upper limit.
  3. Since Excel 2010, negative values are shown in red color and on the left side – as shown above. Of course if in your business context negative is good and positive is bad, you can customize the colors. Conditional Formatting – Manage Rules – Edit Rule.

  • If you select multiple columns of data, make sure that the column widths are same. Otherwise the data bars will be misleading.


  • Remember to use data bars (or other types of conditional formatting) with Pivot Tables.
  • Use all types of conditional formatting with EVERY piece of data. If you think that for a given piece of data, only a particular type of conditional formatting is most suited, you are wrong. Try all types and interpret whatever you can. Any useful thing you can unearth is good for you.
  • If you use data bars in a table, the default table formatting – which has banded rows will interfere with interpretation. Use No COLOR formatting for tables which have conditional formatting applied for maintaining visual clarity.



Enjoy Rainbow

3 thoughts on “Bar charts with a difference

  1. Pingback: Caution: Visual Interpretation Error in Data Analytics | Efficiency 365

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