Often you may want to create a bar chart to visualize the difference in values between two series in Excel.

This tutorial provides a step-by-step example of how to create the following bar chart that shows the difference in product sales each month between two years:

Let’s jump in!

**Step 1: Enter the Data**

First, let’s create the following dataset that shows the total product sales each month at some company during two consecutive years:

**Step 2: Calculate Differences Between Two Series**

Suppose we would like to create a bar chart to visualize the difference in total sales each month between the two years.

Before we create this chart, we can first type the following formula into cell **D2** to calculate the percentage difference in sales between year 1 and year 2 for January:

=IF(MAX(B2:C2)=C2,"+"&ROUND((C2-B2)/B2*100,1)&"%",ROUND((C2-B2)/B2*100,1)&"%")

We can then click and drag this formula down to each remaining cell in column D:

Column D now shows the percentage change in sales each month between the first and second year:

**Step 3: Create Bar Chart with Differences**

Next, highlight the cell range **A1:C13**, then click the **Insert** tab along the top ribbon, then click **Clustered Column** within the **Charts** group.

The following chart will be created:

The blue bars show the product sales during each month of year 1 and the orange bars show the product sales during each month of year 2.

**Step 4: Add Labels to Bar Chart**

Next, click any of the orange bars on the chart. Then click the tiny green plus sign in the top right corner of the chart, then click the dropdown arrow next to **Data Labels**, then click **More Options**:

In the **Format Data Labels** panel that appears, check the box next to **Value From Cells**, then choose **D1:D13** as the **Data Label Range**, then click **OK**. Then uncheck the box next to **Value**.

Data labels will appear above each orange bar in the chart to show the percentage change in sales for each month between the first and second years:

**Step 5: Customize the Chart (Optional)**

Feel free to add a title, customize the colors, and adjust the width of the bars to make the plot more aesthetically pleasing:

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

Excel: How to Sort Bars in Bart Chart

Excel: How to Add Average Line to Bar Chart

Excel: How to Add Total Values to Stacked Bar Chart