How to Add a Vertical Line to a Horizontal Bar Chart

Vertical Line Horizontal Bar ChartLeadExcel’s built-in chart types are great for quickly visualizing your data. The horizontal bar chart is a great example of an easy to use graph type. Sometimes, though, it can be useful to call attention to a particular value or performance level, like an average or a min/max threshhold. In that case, you’ll want to add a vertical line across the horizontal bars at a specific value. This quick tutorial will walk through a quick way to add a vertical line to the horizontal bar chart type in Excel. As an example, we’ll use annual sales performance with an average value line.

 Building a Basic Horizontal Bar Chart

First off, let’s examine the data set. We have a clean list of sales data for a set of employees…

Data Set

Let’s build a horizontal bar chart for the data. Select the Last Name and Sales columns.

Chart Selection

On the Insert menu tab under Charts, choose the Bar icon and select the Clustered Bar chart type.

Insert Clustered Bar

Without any more effort, here is what Excel produces for our data:

Base Graph

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Andrew Roberts ThumbnailAndrew Roberts has been solving business problems with Microsoft Excel for over a decade. Excel Tactics is dedicated to helping you master it.

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24 thoughts on “How to Add a Vertical Line to a Horizontal Bar Chart

  1. Great guide, thanks so much. I had almost given up on being able to make the report in Excel the way I’d been asked to!

    1. Hi Bilo!

      The article is broken up into steps to make it easier to follow (it’s very long otherwise!). Please click on the link to page 2 at the bottom or go to step 2 in the Quick Navigation box at the top to get to the next step in the process!

  2. Bilo:

    No, it’s not just you. At the top of the page in the “Quick Navigation Box” there are links to several pages. The first, “1. Building a Basic Horizontal Bar Chart” shows how to create a chart. In order to add a horizontal line, you need to go through all of the links, from 1 to 5.

  3. This is really.. Been pulling my hairs to combine a horizontal bar and line chart for a long long time.. Thanks for sharing

  4. hi, currently, i’m using your method to have 2 lines to have a “selected area”. do you know if its possible to do a box instead of 2 lines? thank you

  5. Great post. Not at all obvious or easy, but however you worked it out, well done, and thank you for sharing.

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