How to Make a Side by Side Comparison Bar Chart

A side by side bar chart is useful to compare two categories over time. The chart displays the trend of each category as well as the differences between the two categories at each point.

Suppose we have the number of boys and girls participated in one activity in the last 15 years as above and we are making a comparison chart to compare the differences between boys and girls.

Step 1: To re-arrange the data and set one of the columns as minus which will appear on the left of the chart. In this chapter, we put boys on the left and girls on the right; To do so, we need move boys data to an empty area and then set them as minus values;

Step 2: Select column B and C, and click the Insert Tab from the ribbon;

Step 3: Click "Clustered Bar" in the 2-D Bar section;

Step 4: A comparison chart will be created and should like the one below;

Step 5: To set Y Axis as Year: right click on the Y axis, pick up "Select Data" from the dialog box. In the "Select Data Source" window, click "Edit", then select Range A2:A16 in the Axis Labels window;

Step 6: Click OK to return "Select Data Source" window, click another OK to have Y Axis as years.

Step 7: Move Y Axis to left: Right click on Y axis, select "Format Axis", then in the "Format Axis" window, select "Low" Label Position in the "Labels" section;

Step 8: Series Overlap: right-click the bars and select Format Data Series, then set the Series Overlap as 100%; also adjust Gap Width to reduce the space between bars (here we set to 30%);

Step 9: Change X Axis to positive numbers: Right click X Axis, click "Format Axis";

In the "Format Axis" window, select "Custom" in the Number section, then remove the minus (-) sign from "Format Code" box;

Click "Add", the X Axis will change to positive numbers;

Step 10: Now a side by side comparison chart is created, please also change chart title, bar color, and other elements to meet your needs.

Download Example

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