How to Add Horizontal Line in Excel Graph: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding a horizontal line in an Excel graph can seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. Whether you’re trying to mark a specific value or create a benchmark, a horizontal line can provide a clear visual cue for your data. Let’s quickly outline how to do it: first, you’ll need to have your data and graph set up in Excel. Then, you’ll add a new data series that represents the value of your horizontal line. Finally, you’ll format this new series to appear as a line across the graph.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Add a Horizontal Line in Excel Graph

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s establish what we’re going to achieve here. By following these steps, you’ll be able to add a horizontal line across your Excel graph, which can be a great way to mark a specific point or value that’s important for your audience to note.

Step 1: Set up your data and graph

First, make sure you have your data and a graph ready in Excel.

When setting up your data, ensure it’s organized and clear so that when you create your graph, it’s easy to read and understand. Your graph can be of any type – bar, line, scatter, etc. – as long as it represents the data you wish to highlight with a horizontal line.

Step 2: Add a new series for the horizontal line

Next, you’ll add a new data series in your Excel graph that corresponds to the value where you want the horizontal line.

This step is crucial because it’s how Excel knows where to place the horizontal line. You’ll need to input the value of the horizontal line in the same row or column as your other data points, depending on your graph’s orientation.

Step 3: Format the new series to create the line

Finally, format the new data series to appear as a horizontal line across the graph.

In Excel, you have multiple formatting options to customize the look of your line, from its color and width to its style (solid, dashed, etc.). You can access these options by right-clicking the new data series on the graph and selecting ‘Format Data Series’.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a graph with a clear, horizontal line that helps to emphasize a particular value or serve as a benchmark for your data analysis.

Tips: How to Add a Horizontal Line in Excel Graph

  • Make sure your data is accurate before adding the horizontal line, as it will be a point of focus on your graph.
  • If your graph spans a large range of values, consider using a dashed or dotted line for clarity.
  • Use a contrasting color for your horizontal line to ensure it stands out against the other data points.
  • If you need multiple horizontal lines, repeat steps 2 and 3 for each value you wish to highlight.
  • Remember to label your horizontal line appropriately in the graph’s legend for easy identification.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add a horizontal line to any type of graph in Excel?

Yes, you can add a horizontal line to various types of graphs in Excel, including bar, line, and scatter graphs.

What if I need to add more than one horizontal line?

If you need to add multiple horizontal lines, you can simply repeat the process of adding new data series for each line you want to include in your graph.

Can I customize the appearance of the horizontal line?

Absolutely! You can change the color, style, and width of your horizontal line by formatting the data series in Excel.

Will the horizontal line automatically update if my data changes?

Yes, if you’ve set up your horizontal line correctly as a data series, it should update automatically if the underlying data changes.

Can I add a horizontal line to a graph that’s already been created?

Yes, you can add a horizontal line to an existing graph by inserting a new data series and following the steps outlined above.


  1. Set up your data and graph.
  2. Add a new series for the horizontal line.
  3. Format the new series to create the line.


Adding a horizontal line to an Excel graph is a simple yet powerful way to draw attention to key data points or benchmarks. Whether you’re a student analyzing experiment results, a business professional monitoring sales targets, or just someone who loves organizing data, mastering this skill can take your Excel graphs to the next level. With the step-by-step instructions and tips we’ve covered, you’re now well-equipped to enhance your graphs with horizontal lines. Remember, Excel is a versatile tool, and there’s always more to learn. So why not explore further? Try adding different types of lines or playing with the formatting options to see what works best for your data. Happy graphing!

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