Sometimes, when representing data in a line chart, the data points aren't points, but intervals, since the magnitude they represent has some kind of error margin.

That's why those points are drawn as intervals in both X and Y axis, with a size corresponding to the error. That creates on each point something called error rectangles. Here's a picture of what I'm talking about:

Error rectangles in an example graph

As far as I know, this can be done in Excel, but I don't know the procedure. Searching for it in Google didn't return any relevant results. Any ideas?

The rectangles I'm trying to show are going to have the same size on each axis (for example, ±2 in the X axis, and ±3 in Y, for all the points). This means they won't vary, like in the picture.


You need to add error bars to your data points. In Excel 2010, just:

  1. Select your data series.
  2. On your ribbon, go to Layout > Error Bars > More Error Bar Options (or if one of the default options, if they meet your need).
  3. You can choose both horizontal and vertical error bars, and use the Error Amount dialog area to select the values (e.g. fixed, percentage, std. dev., std. error or custom for positive and negative, horizontal and vertical).
  4. Format to suit your need.

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