How to Make Box & Whisker Plots in Excel 2016: A Step-by-Step Guide

Box and whisker plots, also known as box plots, are a nifty way to display data distribution in a simple, easy-to-understand format. They show the minimum, first quartile, median, third quartile, and maximum values in a data set. Excel 2016 makes creating box plots a breeze with just a few clicks. Let’s dive into how you can create your own box and whisker plots in Excel 2016.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Make Box & Whisker Plots in Excel 2016

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to know that following these steps will help you create a box plot that can be used for various purposes such as identifying outliers, understanding the distribution, and comparing different data sets.

Step 1: Input your data

Organize your data into columns on your Excel worksheet.

When inputting data, ensure it’s clean and well-organized. This will make the rest of the process smoother and your box plot more accurate. Remember, garbage in, garbage out!

Step 2: Select your data

Click and drag to highlight the data you want to include in your box plot.

Make sure to include all relevant data points, but avoid including any headers or labels in your selection.

Step 3: Insert a box plot chart

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

Excel will automatically generate a box plot based on the data you’ve selected. You can then customize it to your liking using the chart tools.

After completing these steps, you will have a basic box plot that you can further modify and analyze.

Tips for Making Box & Whisker Plots in Excel 2016

  • Ensure your data doesn’t contain any empty cells or non-numeric data, as this can throw off your box plot.
  • Use the ‘Format Axis’ option to customize your box plot’s axes for improved readability.
  • Consider removing outliers if they’re not relevant to your analysis to get a clearer picture of your data’s distribution.
  • Utilize the ‘Chart Elements’ button to add titles and data labels, making your box plot easier to understand at a glance.
  • Play around with the ‘Chart Styles’ to give your box plot a professional or customized look.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a box and whisker plot?

A box and whisker plot is a graphical representation of data that displays the distribution, median, and variability.

Can I create a vertical box plot in Excel 2016?

Yes, Excel 2016 allows you to create both horizontal and vertical box plots.

How do I interpret a box and whisker plot?

The box represents the interquartile range, the line inside the box is the median, and the ‘whiskers’ represent the minimum and maximum values.

Can I make a box plot with multiple data sets in Excel 2016?

Absolutely, you can compare different data sets in a single box plot by organizing them into separate columns and selecting them all before creating the chart.

How do I handle outliers in my box plot?

Excel will automatically mark outliers with dots. You can decide whether to keep them for analysis or exclude them for a cleaner plot.


  1. Input your data
  2. Select your data
  3. Insert a box plot chart


Creating box and whisker plots in Excel 2016 can transform a bunch of numbers into a clear visual representation of data distribution. They’re a powerful tool for statistical analysis, enabling users to spot trends, outliers, and patterns easily. With the outlined steps above, you can confidently create your own box plot and enhance your data analysis game.

Whether you’re presenting to a class, reporting to stakeholders, or simply trying to make sense of a data set, a box plot can be your visual ally. So, why not jump into Excel 2016 and give it a whirl? And remember, practice makes perfect, so the more you play around with box plots, the better you’ll get at interpreting and presenting your data.

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