How To Draw Pareto In Excel

Productivity Software

Drawing a Pareto chart in Excel is a valuable skill for anyone involved in quality management or process improvement. Whether you’re a seasoned analyst or a beginner like myself, creating a Pareto chart can help identify the most significant factors contributing to a problem. In this article, I’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of drawing a Pareto chart in Excel and share some personal insights along the way.

Setting Up the Data

The first step in creating a Pareto chart is to gather the relevant data. In my personal experience, it’s important to ensure that the data is accurate and comprehensive. Once you have the data, you can organize it in Excel with the categories in one column and their corresponding frequencies in another. For example, if you’re analyzing customer complaints, the categories could be different types of complaints (e.g., late delivery, product quality, customer service), and the frequencies would represent the number of occurrences for each type.

Calculating Cumulative Percentages

After organizing the data, I’ve learned that it’s time to calculate the cumulative percentages. In Excel, I use a simple formula to do this. I create a new column for the cumulative percentage and use the following formula for the first cell: =SUM($B$2:B2)/SUM($B$2:$B$10) (assuming the data is in columns A and B from rows 2 to 10). Then, I fill down the formula for the rest of the cells in the cumulative percentage column.

Creating the Pareto Chart

With the data and cumulative percentages in place, it’s time to create the Pareto chart. I select both the category labels and the cumulative percentage data, and then I insert a bar chart. I personally prefer to use a clustered column and line chart combination. This showcases the individual frequencies as columns and the cumulative percentage as a line, emphasizing the 80/20 rule that the Pareto chart represents.

Adding Final Touches

To make the Pareto chart more visually appealing and easier to understand, I like to add axis titles, a chart title, and data labels showing the exact percentage for each category. This added clarity can help communicate the insights derived from the chart to others, making it a valuable tool for presentations or reports.


In conclusion, drawing a Pareto chart in Excel is a straightforward process that provides invaluable insights into the most significant factors affecting a process or outcome. With a bit of Excel know-how and attention to detail, anyone can create compelling Pareto charts to drive informed decision-making. I hope this guide has been helpful, and I encourage you to explore the power of Pareto analysis in your own data analysis endeavors.