Box and whisker plots help illustrate how data is distributed. They illustrate both data clustered around the mean, and outlier values within a given dataset. Fortunately, these are easy to draw using spreadsheets. Let’s learn how to add a box and whisker plot in Microsoft Excel.
How to Add a Box and Whisker Plot in Excel
Perhaps one of the most common uses for a box and whisker plot is to examine the distribution and concentration of test scores. These plots divide data into quartiles, helping determine which values are clustered around the mean, and which values sit removed from it.
To add a box and whisker plot in Excel, you’ll first need to input your data in a column. For this example, we’ll look at eight individual test scores within a given class period. They’re listed in random order as you can see below.
Once you have your data inputted, it’s time to start adding the box and whisker plot. Begin by clicking and dragging your cursor to select your complete dataset. Here, it’s in the range A1:B9.
Then, find the Insert tab on Excel’s ribbon and click on it. Over in the Charts group in the middle, click on the Statistical dropdown. You’ll see a variety of options inside. The one you want, of course, is Box and Whisker. Click on its thumbnail.
Excel will insert a box and whisker plot onto your sheet. Those scores centered around the mean, which is 81.5 in this dataset, form the box. The whiskers reach out to capture the outlying data values: 98 on the high side and 57 on the low.
As you can see, Excel makes it easy to add a box and whisker plot to any spreadsheet. This is a great way to illustrate your data, its relationship to the mean, and its outlying points. Try it out any time you need to perform a quick and easy analysis of a dataset.