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How to add vertical/average line to bar chart in Excel?

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2014-11-29

When you use a bar chart to show the data, in some cases, you may want to add a vertical line into the bar chart to obviously show the average of the data as below screenshot shown. Now this tutorial is talking about adding a vertical/average line to a bar chart in Excel.


Add vertical line to bar chart

arrow blue right bubble Add vertical line to bar chart

Now you need to insert a bar chart first.

1. Select your data range, and click Insert > Bar > Bar.


2. Then go to a blank cell, here I select Cell A10 to type Y, and then go to the cell next to the Y cell, here is Cell B10 to type X. see screenshot:


3. In the two cells below Y cell, type 0 and 1 in each cell. See screenshot:


4. Go to the cell below X cell, here is B11, type =AVERAGE($B$2:$B$9) ($B$2:$B$9 is the data range you want to calculate the average), then press Enter key and drag the fill handle to the next cell below it. See screenshot:


5. Then right click at the bar chart, and click Select Data from context menu


6. In Select Data Source dialog, click Add button in the Legend Entries (Series) section.


7. In the Edit Series dialog, type the new series name you need, and select B11:B12 (B11:B12 is the range you calculate average in step 4).


8. Click OK > OK to close dialogs. Then select the new series you added in the bar chart, and right click to click Change Series Chart Type in context menu.


9. In the popped out Change Chart Type dialog, select X Y (Scatter) > Scatter with Straight Lines, and click OK to exit the dialog. See screenshot:


In Excel 2013, select Combo section under All Charts tab, and select Scatter with Straight Lines from the drop down list in Average series, and click OK to exit the dialog.


10. Go to the chart and right click to click Select Data in the context menu again.

11. In the Select Data dialog, select Average series and click Edit button.


12. In Edit Series dialog, select the X values and Y values range. (You just need to add the range cells below Cell Y and Cell X you have typed in step 2 to Y values and X values.)


13. Click OK > OK to close dialog. Then right click at the right Y axis (the secondary axis), and select Format Axis from the context menu.


14. In the Format Axis dialog, check Fixed option after Maximum and then type 1 into the textbox beside the Fixed option.


In Excel 2013, you just need to directly type 1 into Maximum text box in the Format Axis pane.

15. Close dialog. Now the average vertical line has added into bar chart.


You can format the line by right clicking the line and selecting Format Data Series in the context menu, then you can change the line as you need in the Format Data Series dialog/pane.


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Comments (5)
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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
brilliant m8, works like a charm
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
totally worked but this is crazy!! Thank you
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Brilliant! Thank you so much!!! I also have spent so much time searching for the instruction to do this! You are marvelous!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
This was terrific! Saved me tons of time. I actually used it to illustrate a mean value on a histogram plot (not a bar graph) and it worked just as well. Thanks for putting this together
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Excellent. I had spent a lot of time to find this. Thank you.
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