How to Make a Box and Whisker Plot in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a box and whisker plot in Excel might initially seem like a task for a mathematician, but it’s actually pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. In just a few steps, you’ll be able to visually represent your data set’s median, quartiles, and outliers. Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: Making a Box and Whisker Plot in Excel

Before we get started with the steps, let’s understand what we are about to do. A box and whisker plot, also known as a box plot, is a graphical representation of statistical data based on the minimum, first quartile, median, third quartile, and maximum. It’s a great way to see the distribution of your data at a glance.

Step 1: Enter your data

Input your dataset into a single column in Excel.

Entering your data correctly is crucial for an accurate box plot. Make sure there are no gaps or non-numeric entries in the column you’re using for your data.

Step 2: Select the data

Highlight the column of data that you’ve entered.

This step is pretty straightforward, but remember that if you select the wrong data, your box plot will not represent the information you intended.

Step 3: Insert a box and whisker plot

Navigate to the ‘Insert’ tab, click on ‘Insert Statistic Chart’, and then select ‘Box and Whisker’.

Excel has made it relatively simple to insert a variety of charts, including the box and whisker plot, with just a few clicks.

Step 4: Format your plot

Customize your box plot by adjusting colors, labels, and the scale if necessary.

Feel free to get creative here. The formatting step is where you can make your box plot look professional and in line with the rest of your presentation or report.

After these steps, you will have a complete box and whisker plot that displays your data’s five-number summary. You can now analyze the distribution of your data visually.

Tips for Making a Box and Whisker Plot in Excel

  • Ensure your data is free from errors before creating your plot.
  • If you have a large dataset, consider removing outliers to get a clearer picture of the data’s distribution.
  • Use different colors to distinguish between different parts of your box plot.
  • Double-check your axis labels to ensure that they correctly represent your data.
  • Explore Excel’s chart formatting options to make your plot more visually appealing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a box and whisker plot?

A box and whisker plot is a way to show the distribution of a dataset. It highlights the median, quartiles, and outliers in the data.

Can I create a box plot with multiple datasets?

Yes, you can compare multiple data sets by creating side-by-side box plots.

How do I interpret a box and whisker plot?

The box represents the interquartile range where 50% of the data lies. The line inside the box is the median. Whiskers extend to the smallest and largest values within 1.5 times the interquartile range from the box. Points outside of this are outliers.

Why are box plots useful?

Box plots are useful because they provide a visual summary of a large amount of data. They show the central value, the spread, and any potential outliers.

Can I create a box and whisker plot in other software besides Excel?

Yes, there are many statistical and graphing software tools that can create box and whisker plots.


  1. Enter your data into a single column in Excel.
  2. Select the data you’ve entered.
  3. Insert a box and whisker plot via the ‘Insert’ tab.
  4. Format your plot to your liking.


A box and whisker plot in Excel is not only a great tool for showcasing data distribution but also for spotting outliers and understanding your data’s variability. Remember, the key to an effective plot is clean data and a clear understanding of what you’re trying to communicate. With practice, you’ll be creating insightful box plots in no time. Don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts aren’t perfect. Like all good things in life, perfection comes with practice. And, if you ever get stuck, there are ample resources online to guide you through the process. Happy plotting!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy