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I have several data sets, each of which includes several tests. Each test contains several temperature samples at different locations. For each data set, I have an average of the different tests for each location and some measurement of error (standard deviation, confidence interval, etc.).

I want to produce a bar graph where bars are grouped by sample location, so there will be as many bars per group as there are data sets, and as many groups as there are sample locations. The number of tests in each data set doesn't matter, as I am not using test data, I am using the averages of test data in each data set. This is, so far, fairly straightforward.

However, I also want to graph the error measurement as error bars (whiskers extending up and down from each vertical bar, or whiskers extending right and left from each horizontal bar, depending on whether I choose a column or bar graph type in Excel).

These error bars should not be calculated by Excel from the data series it is given. Instead, they should be taken from the error measurement series I have prepared along with the average from the test data in each data set. I'm not sure how to accomplish this.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. Click on the chart (in an open area). (This is just to make Excel show the Chart Tools menu area.)
  2. Chart Tools
  3. > Layout
  4. > Error Bars
  5. > More Error Bars Options...
  6. Choose your series
  7. > Error Amount > Custom (choose "Custom" radio button)
  8. > Specify Value
  9. Choose error measurement series for both the positive and negative error values. (In your case, just choose the same values twice.)

The error bar lengths will vary, and the values will match the data to which they apply.

Here is a screenshot to show the effect (and to help with the later parts of that long trip through the menu system!)

enter image description here

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Yes, works. Thank you! – Big Endian Jul 29 '13 at 17:00

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