How to add error bars in Google Sheets [Quick Guide]

Vladimir Popescu
by Vladimir Popescu
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  • Sheets allows you to display error bars inside a document. The error bars are graphical representations of the different data introduced in the software.
  • This option allows you to see an objective representation of your data in order to observe any differences in measurements.
  • If you want to read more about Google Sheets, go ahead and visit our Google Sheets section.
  • There are more than a handful of collaboration apps from Google. Read our articles about them in our Google Teamwork Hub.
Laptop with glasses - How to add error bars in Google Sheets

If you’ve ever wondered how to add error bars in Google Sheets, you came to the right place.

Just like in Microsoft Excel, Sheets also allows you to display error bars inside a document. The errors bars are graphical representations of the different data introduced in the software.

This option allows you to see an objective representation of your data in order to observe any differences in measurements.

In this article, we will explore the best way to add error bars inside your Google Sheets documents. Read on to find out more.


How can I add error bars in Google Sheets?

Create a graph and check the Error bars option

  1. Check to see if you have the correct data inserted inside your Sheets document.
  2. If the data is correct, select a blank cell and click on the button Insert chart found at the top-right corner of your Sheets window.Insert chart option - how to add error bars in google sheets
  3. A new pop-up will appear on the screen without any values being selected.
  4. Click the X-axis of your document and then select the cells you want to use for the X-axis -> press Ok.

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  1. Click on Series -> click the icon -> select the cell (do this for all the series you want to use in your error bars).
  2. Sheets will automatically assign different colors to the specific values you entered (if there aren’t any different colors then it means that your data is not inserted correctly).
  3. Select the Customize tab -> expand series -> tick the box next to the Error bars option -> choose a percentage or exact value from the drop-down menu.
  4. After this process is completed -> save your document.
  5. If you expand your graph you will now be able to see the error bars represented.

In today’s how-to article we discussed the best way to add error bars inside your Google Sheets documents. This option will enable you to observe any differences in values visually, represented as a graph.

We hope this guide helped you understand how to add these important elements to your documents.

Please feel free to let us know if this guide helped with a clear answer, by using the comment section found below.


FAQ: Read more about Error Bars in Excel

  • How do I add error bars to just one bar?
The first thing you need to do is to copy your error values and get them all in a row. Then highlight the cells that correspond to the data points in your series from the row you just made. 
  • What do Error bars show?
Error bars from Microsoft Excel are used for giving you a general idea of how precise a measurement is, or how far it is from a true value.
  • What do long error bars mean?
The length of an Error Bar gives you the level of uncertainty of a data point. A short one means that those values are concentrated, and a long Error Bar indicates that the values are more spread out and less reliable. If you’re interested in statistics, here’s a list with the best software for statistics.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.